Cross Cultural Chairs


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The anatomy of our bodies invites sitting; but do we design seats in the same way? Has our means of sitting been colonized by modern design? And how is the culturally various act of sitting itself reflected in this functional commodity? Matteo Guarnaccia’s (born 1954) Cross Cultural Chairs is a research-based design project “about the cultural context of furniture, understanding how globalization is shaping design around the world,” he writes. “It’s an exploration that lies between social and technical aspects of chairs.” To execute this project, Guarnaccia visited eight different countries to conduct research and talk to local design studios, ultimately collaborating with them to portray each culture in the form of a chair. Cross Cultural Chairs plumbs the hidden depths of furniture design and the ways in which cultural norms assert themselves through functional commodities, opening up a conversation about identity, community and expression through chairs.