This was the Future, Vol.11

typed for your pleasure on 27 May 2005, at 3.38 pm

Sdtrk: ‘The event horizon’ by Air Miami

Right, I can’t believe I’ve not mentioned Eero Aarnio up until this point. Even if you’re not entirely familiar with 20th Century Modern architechture and design, everyone has seen his most famous work at some point or other, such as the Ball chair pictured below.

Aarnio was – and still is – one of the pioneers in using plastic in industrial design. Plastic material set the designers free to create every shape and use every color they wanted. This gave birth to objects oscillating between function and fun – but always fascinating ones. [..] Sitting in [the ball chair] is a special experience, because all surrounding sounds are softed down, and it gives a certain feeling of privacy. Aarnio himself has a ball chair with a telephone in it, and some people had it fitted with speakers.

The very first time I recall seeing one of the fantastic ball chairs was during the mid-Eighties. I was watching this strange-yet-engrossing show on our local Canadian telly station called ‘The Prisoner‘, and apart from the notable fact that No.2’s office/control room was swanky in that austere, Bond-supervillain kind of way, you’d usually see No.2 seated in a ball chair in the centre of the room. Very ace.
Years later, a retro furniture store opened up in nearby Ferndale, and they had the most beautiful and well-preserved ball chair in their window — white exterior, black interior, a matching footstool, plus built-in speakers with a line-in jack for your hi-fi. O yeah. After enquiring as to how much it was, I was told it was $800. Needless to say, I blanched at the time, but upon reflection, for a chair of that calibre, that’s actually a semi-reasonable price.

The chair’s long gone now, of course. Alas!

Random similar posts, for more timewasting:

This was the Future, Vol.36 on April 17th, 2009

mein letzter Freitag / Another Space-age Bachelor Pad on January 20th, 2005

6 have spoken to “This was the Future, Vol.11”

  1. veach writes:

    There’s a second hand store in SanFrancisco (or there was 8 months ago at least) in the Castro district…I could go back there but don’t recall the name or the exact address, (like that matters) where I actually sat in a red one, with red cushons (which were rather ratty). I was more interested in the antique surgery light with a four foot diameter crome plate containing huge inset spotlights, all on gimbals and pivots, that would look wonderfully crazy as my studio light (but it was $1,750). I disrecall the red ballchair’s price (but there is one on e-bay…of that I’m sure…but if it was going for $800 almost twenty years ago, you can bet it’s 3 times that today.

  2. veach writes:

    Oh, I almost forgot. Who’s number one?

  3. SafeTinspector writes:

    I used to fantasize that a bubble canopy could close you in and they would become space pods.
    Now I just want a huge spoon to come down and crack the top like some huge poached egg.

    Who would win in a fight? The ball chair or the Wassily chair?…r/art3304-b.jpg

  4. Davecat writes:

    Ahh, the Wassily chair! I sat in one of those once! Actually, I sat in proximity of one of those once.
    The Wassily chair is a nice strappy bondagey kind of seat, but pound for pound, I’d say the ball chair would win, literally rolling over its opponent. Chair fights can get pretty gruesome.

    Veach –
    YOU ARE NUMBER SIX *sends Rover after you*

    Periodically, I see ball chairs on eBaaah and the like, and I just weep like a soiled infant due to their cost. But if I were to hit the lotto tomorrow, I’d probably buy a bubble chair instead. It’s see-thru!

    Also, I’d have to say owning an antique surgery light would fecking rock. 🙂

  5. Jeff "Wolfgang" Lilly writes:

    Ah, yes… the ball chair! I saw one of these… fitted with speakers… at the Royal Oak antique show some months back. Alas, it was in very poor shape,,, it was cast fiberglass, which was beginnign to come apart, and the pedestal would have needed to be re-chromed… and at $300, it was a bit more than I could afford… and I have no place to put it… but DAMMIT, I STILL wanted it!!!!!

  6. SafeTinspector writes:

    The Wassily chair:
    My brother-in-law owns two of these chairs from an inheritance from his wife’s gandmother, who was apparently very wealthy once. Sad, really, as that entire clan is now a pile of sweltering white trash.
    Anyway, he has them in his living room, and I drool over them discreetly every time I visit.
    Honestly, they don’t have any idea what they have, even after I tried to explain it to them.
    I also saw a set in a satellite office of Newton Bernstein, a local ambulance chasing lawyer. The wassilys are in this satellite office, right, which is only open one day a week. Now thats decadent.

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