Analyzing Chairs…

…doesn’t sound like art? Probably not, but it sure sounds like (product) design 🙂

Last week in Fine Arts we got a little surprise when we entered the auditorium:

lined up chairs

a bunch of chairs lined up in the lecture hall

The professor enjoyed our puzzled faces for a moment and handed out evaluation-sheets. We were supposed to form small groups and pick a chair to analyze within 20 minutes. My group decided to go for the most inconspicuous model:

SE 68

SE 68

The SE 68 was designed by Egon Eiermann (D) in the 1950’s and is distributed by “Wilde + Spieth” (D) for 270 Euros apiece. I was surprised to find out it’s a designer chair since you can see it in many educational institutes and big halls. It’s nothing fancy!

But let’s sum up the evaluation-sheets:

  • Basic data: Name-SE 68; Object category-furniture/chairs; Function-sitting; Materials-light wood/metal/rubber (bottom of legs); Manufacturer-Wilde+Spieth; Designer-Egon Eiermann; Price-270EUR etc.
  • Form analysis: Main Parts-back rest/seating surface/legs; Color-black/metallic; Surface Character-flexible back rest separated from seating surface/ergonomic design
  • Function: Practical Function (ergonomics, handling)-parts are rounded/tilted (ergonomics); Symbolical Meaning-nope; Overall Effect-harmonious etc.
  • Context: Target Audience-big groups of people (events, educational institutes); Comparison with Competition-relatively unflashy, simple; Communication (marketing strategy)-“This chair is meant for everyone (short/tall, overweight/thin, young/old), who needs to stay seated for a longer period of time, but nevertheless he/she is not able to fully relax (no bolstering) so attention is kept on a high level.” etc.

Most of the information could be gathered by simply observing the chair. For the function-part we just slipped into the role of a random student looking for a place to rest his/her exhausted body (and mind) 😀

After a few groups presented their findings the professor too analyzed some prominent chairs. Now I know chair≠chair!