Commissioned by Depot Basel from Basel, Switzerland, Radical Sitting, Hidden Experiments in Seating Furniture 1900 - 1990

 is an illustrated curated book including timeline of some of the lesser known, but really interesting experiments in the seating furniture designed during the 20th century. The project was created for SEATS 05 exhibition at Depot Basel.

For its photo-shooting we have teamed up with photographer Jaroslav Moravec and Prague-based Vitra showroom, where we have shot this series of pictures including beautiful Vitra chairs miniatures. The result are "surrealistic" still lives where miniature chairs create compositional background for lesser known icons of the 20th century design, this time in the form of our publication only. Maybe sometimes, they will have their own miniatures too.

Text from the publication:

Presented in the context of the SEATS 05 exhibition project by the Depot Basel gallery, which focuses on unusual forms of contemporary seating furniture, this concise publication deals with various principles of lesser known experimental seating furniture made from 1900 to 1990. We search for hidden icons from the history of design over the last century that still offer a fresh perspective on the theme of sitting in its diverse forms. 

Radical Sitting, Hidden Experiments in Seating Furniture 1900 – 1990 brings together a time axis of 25 various pieces of seating furniture from the whole world. Chairs, armchairs, stools, chaise longues, and sofas tell stories of designers and artists and their perpetual urge to experiment and make formal or functional innovations in the field of sitting. Thus, our selection introduces clear historical contexts into the current exhibition project by the Depot Basel gallery and strives to present lesser known designer works, which not only enrich our knowledge in the field of applied arts, but also stir inspiration in contemporary designers who look for the new, undiscovered, unconventional, and experimental as their predecessors did. Our selection could certainly include a myriad of other brilliant designs that are probably more famous than the ones presented here. However, our selection deliberately concentrates on less commonplace designs. Apart from other things, we wish to demonstrate the fact that designer innovation has not always been in the hands of the most renowned iconic designers, as one might conclude from the current interpretation of the development of design.

The following pages show a conceptually created selection of experimental seating furniture, which strives to set up a continuous historical line and highlight essential innovations in the field of sitting in various periods, as well as reveal genuine unique pieces that were without parallel in their time. All the examples depicted herein are characterized by visual or functional distinctiveness or uniqueness no matter what issue is tackled – whether a chair should have eight legs or just one is addressed, or whether it features an innovative functional solution. Each style is represented by the most interesting unique pieces found during the course of our research. We also attempt to provide an even geographical representation in order to create an overall global perspective of the given issue. 

Last but not least, our brochure should serve the designers themselves – they could use it as a “source book” for their production and find, with a little help, the right path to set out on. The rear part contains several empty pages that function as a notepad. If you take interest in something from our selection or find inspiration in it, you can immediately make notes. Radical Sitting, Hidden Experiments in Seating Furniture 1900 – 1990 is far from aspiring to create a comprehensive study on radical seating furniture. On the contrary, it outlines an unknown history to current professionals and laypersons, creates contexts, and at the very least, presents truly unique designer works that deserve our attention.

Thanks Matylda Krzykowski, Depot Basel, Vitra and Jaroslav Moravec.