I recently read a story about a chair. It caught my eye for a couple of reasons.
Its classic mid-century aesthetic was one; the other was the fact that we’re doing a piece on designer chairs for this issue (page 24). I liked it for its thin beech legs and spindle-back design, but what I loved was the story behind the chair’s origins. It’s a story that’s relevant to the world we’re living in – a story about design in adversity.
The Ercol chair – popular among design-minded homeowners in the 1960s and highly collectable now – has its roots in the austerity of post-World War II England. With much of Ercol’s manufacturing capacity taken up by the war effort, the company emerged after 1945 constrained by limited raw-materials supply and construction capabilities. And the simple, minimalist Ercol chair was the result. Like all design, it took what went before – in this case, the centuries-old Windsor chair – and created something fresh. Something sleeker and simpler; something that transformed country craft into minimalism.
It’s going to be fascinating to see how our current designers respond to these Covid-affected times. We’ve already seen some innovative re-imaginings of home spaces – our page 30 story on home-office pods is an example of that – but I’m really interested to see what kind of design comes out of what is clearly a fundamentally changed global zeitgeist.
Will commercial architecture turn away from high-rise corporate vanity projects? Will homes mirror a need to welcome the outside into the interiors we will now be spending far more time in? Will we see interior design reflect the need to simplify these spaces with a return and reinterpretation of minimalism? And will we see an enduring adoption of local design … and an African story like that of the Ercol chair?
– Steve Smith, Editor
Want the print magazine?
Subscribe to VISI now and receive a 40% discount off your one-year print subscription. You’ll pay just R342.00 for six issues delivered directly to your post box. Use any of these methods to subscribe or renew your existing subscription:
- Call Media24 Subscriptions on 087 353 1300
- WhatsApp “VISI” to 087 353 1333
- Email email@example.com
Want the digital magazine?
If you prefer to read your favourite magazine in digital form, on your iPad, tablet or desktop computer, you can subscribe to the digital edition of VISI via the below websites. It will cost from as little as R225 for a one-year subscription – that’s a 50% discount on six issues.