Are comfortable chairs worth it?
For the recurring series, That’s Debatable, we tackle a controversial topic of the day and present two fiery arguments, one in favor and the other categorically opposed. The previous episodes of the series are here.
YES, PEOPLE ARE LOOKING FOR LARGE COCOONING SEATS, WHICH CAN BE INTEGRATED INTO YOUR DECOR.
Los Angeles fashion designer turned furniture maker Sam Klemick admits that before she could appreciate the allure of the poofy Big Nap chair she created, even she had to live with it for a while. The ecru canvas chair for Otherside Objects, inspired by Maison Martin Margiela’s 1999 Duvet coat, might look like a duvet draped over a seat frame, its tapered legs almost comically detailed with prominent fabric ties, but Ms Klemick believes the People prioritize comfort these days: “We need lightness and joy and a soft place to land when we come home.”
Chicago interior designer Marshall Erb agrees. “Everyone is looking for their perch,” he said, “a place for your coffee, a corner with a blanket to watch a movie, a place to work from home, take a nap”. Mr. Erb sees a resurgence of silhouettes from the 1970s and 80s, like the seats by Italian designer Tobias Scarpa that resemble tufted marshmallows. To create “beautiful tension”, Mr. Erb juxtaposes such nebulous seats with natural and classic elements. A smushy Togo Ducaroy chair, with its large earthworm-like segments, looks more comfortable against linear Parisian-style woodwork and geometric accents, he said. A square petrified wood coffee table or an abstract black and white work of art would offset the distinctive shape without competing for attention.
When Ms Klemick posted the Big Nap chair on Instagram, it sold within hours to a friend who used the cushioned seat to soften a living room with a low, square tweed sofa. The buyer complied with Ms. Klemick’s advice to let the large chair “steal the show”.
NO, A COMFORTABLE CHAIR DOESN’T REQUIRE AN INELEGANT SILHOUETTE. IN ADDITION, BULKY CHAIRS TAKE MORE THAN ONE ROOM.
Their uterine-like shape makes them ideal for dozing off, but these unstructured chairs don’t look stylish. “They can feel oppressive,” London interior designer Mary Graham said of the sturdy seating trend to dominate a room. Sturdy chairs with simplistic shapes are best left in tech startup break rooms and hotel lobbies, she said. “You can have comfort and a good design, but I don’t think the fat one enters the equation,” said Ms. Graham, who prefers a dignified figure that is a testament to craftsmanship. “If I want to jump into a comforter, I go to my room.”