It is the nature of fashion that things often come back to popularity after being shunned for a long time. Furniture trends and chairs styles in particular are no different. It is not for no reason that the “little black dress” or sombre dark grey (nearly black) suits are perennial favourites. A dark, simple color will coordinate with many other hues and it is this fact that makes black so popular a choice for all sorts of items. So what has all this got to do with furniture? Well, retro chairs seem to be making another comeback, if indeed they ever really left us at all.
Reproduction Furniture for the Masses
To be clear, I am not here referring to reproduction furniture. The desire to own antique furniture is a common one for many people. As time progresses and the scarcity and therefore the price of genuine antiques continue to rise more and more people will seek a relative bargain in a reproduction item. With modern construction techniques and machine tools a reproduction piece of furniture can be made for a fraction of the cost that it would have been in the period it was originally made in.
Retro Chair Chic?
What I am talking about are the type of chairs seen in many (often bad) science fiction movies from the late 60’s and early 70’s and some of the “mom and pop” type television shows of the 50’s. Particularly with reference to the shows of the 50’s there is an atmosphere of endless optimism and happiness in living what is often referred to as “The American Dream.” The science fiction shows are of a similar nature in that they tend to offer a vision of a Utopian future in which (most of) humanities problems have been solved. It is the “selling the dream” factor contained in these shows that allows people to drift back to an idealised happier time.
Retro Chairs – Were They Ever Comfortable?
Today of course we live in a different world. While there is no “Red Menace” to live in fear of, the new enemy is the spectre of international terrorism, as so forcefully brought to public consciousness in the events surrounding 9/11. It is perhaps because of this atmosphere of fear and dread that so many people are drawn to the styles of furniture common in the past. We are not talking here about the desire for convivial conversation around a coffee table, but rather the drive for modern and fashionable furniture.
I am of course referring to plastic tub chairs, plastic collapsible chairs, hideous plastic swivel chairs in colors that would make a color blind painter blush and so on. The reality is that plastic and other none breathable chair fabric choices have never made for a comfortable chair, but sometimes when you dream, it takes a while to wake up.