The Chair

Author(s): Galen Cranz


The oldest surviving chair comes from the tomb of King Tut. "Roman chairs were rare, decorative items of luxury." Chairs themselves represent the West?or the "barbarians"?to cultures that have done without them. Office seating uses shape, fabric and size to make clear which chair belongs to the boss. And current home seating?even the "male" La-Z-Boy?increasingly tries to accommodate women's bodies and tastes. So reports Cranz (The Politics of Park Design), a professor of architecture at the U.C.-Berkeley, in this concise, multidisciplinary gem. Cranz begins by surveying the chair's historical kinds, styles and meanings; then addresses issues of back support, body shape and ergonomics; and ends up in a vigorous, detailed argument against the standard right-angled chair and "chair-desk complex," in favor of "body-conscious design" in an attractively described Ideal Workplace. "Sitting is hard work," Cranz's research reveals; seatmakers should, she says, abandon the common principle of lower-back support; the Alexander Technique of somatic therapy holds lessons for furniture designers; "human beings are not designed to hold any single posture for long periods"; garden-variety office furniture is bad for you; and the famous chairs of Modernism are, in general, even worse. Cranz's clear book?half survey, half polemic?may successively delight, instruct and alarm professors in their endowed chairs, designers at their slanted tables, drivers in drivers' seats, parents with carseats and, of course, the armchair intellectual. 85 photographs and illustrations.


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Product Information

General Fields

  • : 9780393319552
  • : W. W. Norton & Company, Incorporated
  • : W. W. Norton & Company, Incorporated
  • : 0.29
  • : January 2000
  • : 2.088 Centimeters X 15.4 Centimeters X 17.2 Centimeters
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Galen Cranz
  • : Paperback
  • : 1
  • : English
  • : 749.3/2
  • : 288