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design object: shell chair

August 22, 2008

zora naki

I just can’t help myself. I have an all-encompassing love for this kind of pared-down (but not simple!) curvy wooden seat. Something in the shape beckons – come sit!

Why do certain objects resonate with one person and not another? Hans Wegner designed any number of chairs, and his Wishbone is in far wider circulation. But it doesn’t do anything for me. You can educate and evolve your design eye, but does your basic set of preferences ever change? Like I was thinking this morning about why Madonna can’t act. It’s a bit of a conundrum. She has been the master of evolving her public image over time through any number of iterations. But the only good acting job she has ever done (in Desperately Seeking Susan) is, arguably, playing herself. Is she so firmly set in her own set of preferences (however expressed) that she is unable to fully immerse herself in a role?

I think I’m like Madonna that way. My preferences have gotten more sophisticated over time, but I grew up in a house with Danish teak and a red carpet, and I still really like those shapes and that colour. I will never embrace chintz!

Ahem. From all reports, the Hans Wegner Shell Chair is a comfortable seat, although far from elegant to arise from (instructions consist of grasp the front edge to lever yourself upwards). Three legs. $700 a leg. You do the math.

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