By utility, experimentation, irony, claim or by simple envy, the chair appears as one of the "unavoidables" of the path of many designers. As an everyday object, it materialises and sometimes questions the cultural, technical and historical background of society.

While our collective imagination associates it with a seat, a backrest and four legs, the chair actually meets our specific needs and is constantly adapting to the practices and evolution of technology and different ways of sitting. Using a variety of materials and textures, the concept then takes various forms: chaise longue, office chair, wheelchair, seat, bench, stool, pouffe or folding chair.

Five routes explore the different themes of a design project. A subjective selection creates new and unique interactions and dialogues between 100 chairs from the collection of The Design Museum, London, the Design Museum Brussels and Galila's Collection (Brussels). Other than the grouped chairs in this exhibition space, the visitors can discover the entirety of the selection through a trail in the other exhibition spaces.

The analysis of the user's needs, habits and values is, for designers, the starting point for research that aims to solve and improve the relationship between the object, the human being and its environment. The cross-disciplinary approach of design to different disciplines such as anthropology, marketing, engineering and material science sometimes leads to new products, which are the result of technological or sensory innovation. The object can then be mass-produced for the market or addressed to a particular target. Once available, the user can experiment with it and integrate it into their habits, sometimes making it the icon of a style, era or even a movement.

The Chair. Stoel. Chair. Defining Design exhibition retraces the world of design from the end of the 19th century to the present day through this object - the chair - in constant redefinition, reaffirmation and hybridisation.

© photo: Tai Lamos
© dancer: Michelle Peters

© photos : Design Museum Brussels – Liophotography

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