Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Chair #28

—Designer unknown

We're talking ancient history with this chair. Originally called an "X" chair because of its curving frame crossing at the central joint, this design is the original "folding chair." In the style's earliest incarnation, it was treasured by the commanders of ancient Rome's armies as ideally practical, comfortable and portable on long campaigns to the far-flung edges of the empire. Later, in the 12th and 13th centuries, the design was widely used but chairs were crafted from iron or bronze instead of wood. In Medieval and Renaissance times, particularly in Italy and southern France, it was updated for use in homes, frequently with fabric looped around the arms and over the back. Within the world of French antiques, this design is commonly known as a "sedia Savonarola" or "Savonarola chair," presumably after the Dominican cleric, Girolamo Savonarola, the éminence grise behind the Florentine Republic until his execution in 1498.

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