“Armless Chair” (l) and “Armless Chair (Wide)” (r) by SANAA
The politics of the American figure–we’ll say form–inspires numerous reactions here at home: some (wrongly) argue for the preservation of the right to poor life decisions, while others indicate the larger systemic social issues at play, advocating for new or amended policies not skewed toward some misplaced (and uninformed) libertarian ethos or influenced by corporate profiteering. Clearly, it’s a difficult topic to broach, yet one which has so singularly defined how we and everyone else perceives the shape of America. Case in point, these two chair designs by SANAA, one of which was intended for the Japanese market and the other for American consumers. It shouldn’t be difficult to guess which is which!
As A Daily Dose writes, SANAA’s “Armless Chair” and “Armless Chair (Wide)” were displayed this past spring at the Canadian Center for Architecture’s (CCA) current exhibition, “Imperfect Health“, which explored problems of health and medicalization through the lens of architecture and urbanism. Manufactured for Maruni, the pair of chairs share the same design scheme, with the back of the seat formed by two splayed “bunny ears”, each of which supports the back of the sitter while alleviating pressure on the spine. Only that the Armless Chair (Wide) is exactly that, wide, the proportions of the original being stretched horizontally to accommodate the American “other”. Still, this iteration looks roomier and probably more comfortable, something that you can slink into or even sleep in. The same can’t be said for the Japanese model, which looks too narrow to not keep the sitter on edge.