April 6, 2011

"Those red chairs in the background? 'Orange Slice,' designed by Pierre Paulin in 1960, produced by the Dutch furniture maker Artifort."

Says Palladian, commenting on the chairs you can barely see in the "woodland computer" post just below. I said I had some better views of the chairs, which you can see — and sit in — at the University of Wisconsin—Madison, at Town Center of the beautiful now Institutes for Discovery.

DSC01018
(Enlarge.)

DSC01017
(Enlarge.)

32 comments:

chickelit said...

Sumptuous or presumptuous?

ricpic said...

Has anyone ever been happy in a sleek modern space? I know, very philistine of me but so what? I haven't.

edutcher said...

Very pretty, Madame. A little refreshment for the soul.

MayBee said...

"Institutes of Discovery"? Sounds like an Epcot thing.

Andrew said...

Ok, so this is kind of funny and I haven't had the chance to get there yet myself, but my sister (still a student) claims bugs are a problem at least in those areas because of all the plants.

ignatzk said...


$2,666.00 + free shipping in the continental U.S.

Triangle Man said...

1960? If they last 50 years, they are worth every penny.

Palladian said...

The late, great Pierre Paulin designed many chairs and other seating for Artifort. I'm partial to the 'Ribbon' (especially when upholstered in Jack Lenor Larsen fabric) and 'Groovy' (it's grooved!). The great thing about many of Paulin's lounge chairs is that, unlike many beautiful modernist designs, they're actually comfortable.

Lincolntf said...

Bread, Circuses and Designer Chairs.

Chip S. said...

A bargain at $2,666 but a steal with free shipping thrown in!

If it's truly comfortable then it is a great chair, but I think I'd settle for the knock-off at an 87% discount.

Ann Althouse said...

"If it's truly comfortable then it is a great chair, but I think I'd settle for the knock-off at an 87% discount."

I was looking for the real thing in Amazon to link to it. I found the knock-off you link to, but I decided not to link to it, because I didn't think it looked good enough.

Here's the link to buy it and make a contribution to this blog, if you're interested. I don't know why the knock-off looks so sad to me, but it does. Something's missing!

Chip S. said...

One problem with the knock-off site is that, while it offers different colors and grades of fabric, it only displays that pathetic light grey version.

Maybe not the only problem with it, but it's the way I'd go if I were furnishing a public space.

Palladian said...

Here's another view of the knock-off, and here's a similar view of the genuine article. There are a lot of subtle proportional differences between the two, but the main thing that's apparent is the difference in quality; Look at the Artifort version and note the perfect seams, the even upholstery, the perfect, pleasing curves of the metal frame... all missing from the knock-off.

The real Artifort chairs are extremely well-made, to very high industrial tolerances. The real ones, if properly cared for, will last a very long time.

Bad knock-offs have damaged the reputation of many modern designs, from Thonet bentwood chairs to Le Corbusier's LC-2 and LC-4, to various Eames designs.

MadisonMan said...

I'd rather sit in Stickley's Leopold Chair, in leather. That is a comfortable chair.

Chip S. said...

Good points, Palladian. It's actually reassuring to see the quality differential that accompanies the price differential.

Carol_Herman said...

Meis Vander Row (and, no, I don't know how to spell it), designed chairs like that. And, those wonderful leather rectangular benches. That offices in NYC had placed in their reception areas.

I guess what's old comes back again, huh?

Chip S. said...

MadMan, I've never encountered that chair, but I have tried out the Wegner wing chair. And it does look and feel better than its knockoff. Still haven't bought one, though, at >$5K.

Wow, what a swpl thread this is.

Palladian said...

It's stuff people with good taste like.

Chip S. said...

Point conceded, even though it makes me think that I should stay in the bad-taste threads.

Lance said...

The great thing about many of Paulin's lounge chairs is that, unlike many beautiful modernist designs, they're actually comfortable.

However comfy his other chairs, there's no way that the Slice chair, with such a low back and deep curved seat, could possibly be comfortable.

(So says I who never has and probably never will sit in that particular chair.)

walter said...

Thank God for the public sector. It gives me (temoprary) access to the finer things on life.
Please tell me you're not hyping $2,600 chairs.

Michael said...

There is a modern house in our neighborhood of some importance to architects and lovers of the new. The glass front reveals a cool and stark interior and a few chairs of the style in these pictures. I have never, in twenty years, seen a person in these chairs or in these rooms for that matter. I suspect there is a rear section of the house, a hidden section, that is all chintz and overstuffed chairs, books stacked on tables, nice dusty lamps, comfort.

Triangle Man said...

I am looking forward to the post about Profrssor Michael Adams and his free speech / acasdemic freedom victory, but chair hype will do for now.

MarkW said...

Has anyone ever been happy in a sleek modern space? I know, very philistine of me but so what? I haven't.

In modernist spaces? Sometimes. But in modernist furniture? Virtually never. I really like Witold Rybczynski's take in Home. Corbusier declared that 'houses are machines for living and chairs are machines for sitting', but the fatal problem is that modernists designed houses and chairs that LOOK like machines -- on the surface -- but at the cost of sacrificing function.

Modernist houses generally suck, functionally, at being houses. They're lousy 'living machines' -- the metal frame windows are cold, the flat roofs are prone to leaks, the unadorned spaces full of hard surfaces are terrible acoustically, making such homes suitable only for quiet, childless couples. And modernist chairs are almost universally terrible 'sitting machines' when it comes to supporting the human body in comfort (and isn't that the first thing we should demand from a chair?)

And has anybody noticed how lazy modernist architecture has become? I was in the new modernist wing of the Chicago Art Institute, and what a yawner. How utterly safe and predictable. Before going there, I could have told you almost exactly what it would look like and so could you -- white walls, blond wood, glass balustrades, exposed trusses. etc -- every modernist cliche in the book.

Phil 3:14 said...

Good Taste

You're tax dollars at work

This is what democracy looks like

Hagar said...

and how much are they raising tuition this year?

Triangle Man said...

You're tax dollars at work

ROI baby!

and how much are they raising tuition this year?

8.5%

It's a public-private partnership bitches!

Original Mike said...

Are those real trees? (I haven't been down there yet.)

Calypso Facto said...

It's a beautiful place. I know my son studies there often.

Thanks for the link, TriangleMan. In the interest of my blood pressure, I won't even look at how much the State portion of the construction amounted to. I hope that ROI is real.

But I do have to remind that Biddy projects 8.5% as the MINIMUM tuition increase (if she gets her way). Otherwise up to 26%, she's said.

Grover said...

These classy red chairs will work for the image overhaul of the university, and these will benefit the students too. Somehow I get the feeling they got a little way overboard, though sometimes excess isn't all that bad.

Grover Gatchel

Allie Carrillo said...

Those lounge chairs look really comfortable to sit on! It’s great to place have a cup of coffee, chat with your fellow students, sit down there with your favorite book, or even anything else for that matter. It just has this soothing atmosphere it--it’s like an indoor park! It’s just really cool to stay in a place like that, though maybe with a little more flora to bring more color to the lounge.

Allie Carrillo

Gerry said...

That’s really a great place to spend time with your colleagues! You can stay there to read books or do some school projects. Likewise, you can have a cold drink with your classmates. It’s up to you! Actually, it reminds me of my college days. We also had that our own hangout place in our campus. It’s one of my favorite spots!

Gerry Bossier