Vitra's new full-length documentary film Chair Times takes you on a journey to the history of seating. You can also embark on a literary voyage into design history with Vitra – the Atlas of Furniture Design is packed with over 1000 pages and nearly 5 kilos of in-depth information.
CHAIR TIMES, directed by Heinz Bütler and released by Vitra, is a 90-minute documentary film starring 125 different chairs from Vitra Design Museum's collection. The chairs provide a comprehensive insight into the tendencies and styles of furniture design from the early 19th century to the latest 3D modelled designs.
"Chairs are important historical artefacts. They can represent the fashion and ethos of a particular moment in time or stand for an epochal idea. They are portraits of their users and reflect the production techniques with which they were created. You can recognise and understand an era – its social structures, its materials, techniques and fashions – by its chairs. I would go as far as to say that no other everyday object is so multi-faceted," says Rolf Fehlbaum, Chairman Emeritus of Vitra.
Fehlbaum dives into the sea of chairs with a colorful group of design professionals, including designers Hella Jongerius, Antonio Citterio and Ronan Bouroullec as well as architects Arthur Rüegg, Ruggero Tropeano and David Chipperfield.
While watching the film, you can spot many familiar Scandinavian masterpieces and Finnish design classics, like Alvar Aalto's Stool 60, Eero Saarinen's Tulip chair and Yrjö Kukkapuro's Karuselli lounge chair.
The designs featured in the documentary have also been collected into a book: Chair Times – A History of Seating presents the chairs in chronological order, with the Chair Times movie and a series of short interviews included in a USB drive. For a limited time, Chair Times is also available to watch for free online at Vitra.
If you feel like delving even deeper into the history of furniture design, the Atlas of Furniture Design offers the most comprehensive overview ever published on the subject. Released in 2019 by Vitra Design Museum, the Atlas of Furniture Design is a true foundation stone of design: the book has over 1,000 pages and 2,800 illustrations, and it weighs a massive 4,7 kilograms.
Atlas of Furniture Design presents encyclopedically 1,740 objects from over 540 designers while simultaneously examining themes from the early days of industrialization to the latest digital innovations. Based on more than 20 years of research, the Atlas is a comprehensive reference book and source of inspiration for anyone interested in the development and phases of modern design.
"The publication is set up to provide a new comprehensive outline for scholars of furniture design by considering the latest academic research, questioning extant knowledge, and giving top experts a platform to share their ideas. But the Atlas of Furniture Design can also be enjoyed by readers who prefer to dispense with complex theories and just want to concentrate on each single object," says Mateo Kries, director of the Vitra Design Museum and co-editor of the publication.
Text: Nora Uotila Images: Vitra