Originally published in Domus 202 / October 1944
One comes home tired from working all day and finds an uncomfortable chair
Interior designers are generally concerned with making new furniture and inventing a new form for tables, chairs, hangers, armchairs. Let us consider the “armchair” which is the most obvious example. How many different armchairs have you seen in your life? Did you happen to sit on very low chairs (chairs upon which real ladies never sit) or on chairs that were so long that the nape of your neck touches the back? Twentieth century armchairs full of corners, physiological armchairs in which people who move get lost, armchairs in chrome tubes, wood, elephant’s teeth. But tell us the truth: isn’t it relaxing to sit on a cheap (100 lire) and ordinary lounge chair? Yet the bourgeoisie does not want one in their homes because it is vulgar — unless it is in silver metal and covered in snakeskin. You understand that we could go on for a thousand years (and perhaps more) inventing different furnishings, following all the trends in all the countries, the materials that the industry puts on the market at any time, stylistic tendencies, etc., all to suit the taste of the good middle-class citizen who does not want to have a chair in his house that is the same one that his colleague has in his office. Everyone wants different furniture and so the true function of a chair, for example, comfort, goes to hell.
Now I say this: do you think that this is a wise way to work? Do you believe this kind of work to be worthy of man, or that it leads to true results? Why — instead of getting a headache, every time we need to design an armchair (and this observation holds true for any piece of furniture), trying to create a rare never-before-seen original piece — don’t we try to perfect that object that has been recognized throughout the ages as the simplest and the most comfortable seat to rest upon — a common deck lounger? Why do we not point our research in this direction?