Sarita Sundar’s lavishly illustrated new book From The Frugal To The Ornate: Stories of the Seat in India traces the cultural evolution of the ‘seat’ and the many chairs it spawned over the centuries
In his 2016 book, Now I Sit Me Down, the architect Witold Rybczynski writes: “The way we choose to sit, and what we choose to sit on, says a lot about us: our values, our tastes, the things we hold dear.”
The history of seats and chairs is a social history rather than an evolutionary one. Popular wisdom is that chairs are a European creation that was brought to India by colonisers. This is largely on account of the fact that much of innovations in chair design in the last century including Verner Panton’s Stacking Chair (1960), Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona (1929), Le Corbusier’s Grand Confort (1928), Arne Jacobsen’s Egg (1958) and Charles & Ray Eames’ Lounge & Ottoman and LCW (1956 & 1946), all came from Europe and America.
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