ancient history
folding chairs / medieval
............................................................................................................


the folding stool as a ceremonial chair developed in
two ways : one secular, and the other ecclesiastical.

the makeup of the roman 'sella curulis' assumes,
through the longobard 'sella plicatilis' in steel,
the form of the carolingian 'faldistorium'.
here we notice another typological alteration.
the crossed legs are frontal instead of being placed laterally.
this was to emphasize the crossing 'X' structure which became
a re-inforced symbol of authority.
the most emblematic example is the throne of dagobert I,
king of the franconians (arm- and backrests were added
later). the 'faldistorium' in time acquired arms and a back,
while retaining its folding shape. the most famous,
as well as the most ancient, english chair is that made
at the end of the 13th century for edward I., in which most
subsequent monarchs have been crowned.

in spite of this, it was mostly used in ecclesiastical settings.
we can assume that christianism, (the newly adopted official
religion), was the factor that made this radical change,
as 'sella curulis', such an official symbol, had to be altered to
break with the past and the X, the cross symbol,
to be shown in front view. the 'faldistorium' became
also the archbishop's kneeling stool.
this new function remained through the renaissance.
(in oriental cultures, where the cross symbol had not such
an importance, alteration from side- to front- X has never
been made.)

front- X became the norm untill in the renaissance
the 'chair of petrarca' and the sissors chair / 'sedia a tenaglia'
restored the crossed legs placed laterally.

'endowed ' bishops chairs of the mid 13th century,
with crossed legs normally were not foldable,
the 'X' structure had exclusively symbolic value.

---
renaissance

the (pre) renaissance folding stools had an interesting
alteration of their front X by multiplicating the X-s on the
Z axis. visually like an object in opposite mirrors or like a
concertina barrier which expands on the Z axis.
this was an extraordinary stylistic discovery,
giving the stool - that descended from the faldistorium -
the necessary depth, while making it extremely light,
yet strong. the frontal X also gave the armrests.

the typology of the folding 'chair' officially appeared with
the renaissance. in the 16th century we find the the
scissors chair / 'sedia a forbice'.
there are two principal variations:
the 'savonarola' and the 'dantesca', followed by the
pincer chair / 'sedia a tenaglia'.
this chair represents the return of the crossed legs placed
laterally.
both versions have been used since.

the renaissance revived strongly the curved-legs shape,
most probably of roman 'sella curulis' inspiration.
it is to note that the 'savonarola' and the 'dantesca' had
a more elaborated shape of the curved X
- a kind of double curve - giving the illusion
of the left/right side of the frontal X being made out
of a single piece.

another famous renaissance chair is the chair of the poet
petrarca. the 'petrarca' chair with crossed legs was not foldable,
because of its fixed joints, but it could be easily assembled.
the 'X' structure had mostly symbolic value.


the folding chair -
its history as symbol of authority is also traceable in the
following cultures.
see asia





carolingan 'faldistorium'



'sella plicatilis' civic museum, pavia, italy



'hortus deliciarium', a medieval manuscript
is showing herodes on his 'faldistorium' throne,
a front X version chair in a biblical scene.



throne of dagobert I,
king of the franconians



not foldable base of a medieval stool,
X- structure has only a symbolic value.



endowed chair, not foldable





monk writing a manuscript, sitting on a 'scissors stool'



folding 'scissors' armchair



pope julius II and the folding kneeling stool
(detail of a fresco by raphael:
'la messa di bolseno', the vatican museum, rome)



english folding chair 14th century



'savonarola' chairs,
16th century, tuscany, italy



'dantesca' chairs,
16th century, tuscany, italy



pincer chair / 'sedia a tenaglia', ca. 1530
casa bagatti valsecchi, milano, italy



pincer chairs / 'sedie a tenaglia', 1530
palazzo davanzati, florence, italy



'sedia a tenaglia', 'modern version' ca. 1560,
villa maser (andrea palladio), italy



folding chair, ca. 1550,
museum citta di castello, italy



'petrarca' or 'glastonbury' chair, not foldable



variation of the 'faldistorium' stool, 1580



THE ILLUSTRATED HISTORY OF FOLDING CHAIRS
© designboom
(compiled by birgit lohmann - a thesis publication, july 1988, revised in june 2003)

this history timeline is provided for educational purposes only,
no reproduction, re-use or transcription for any commercial purpose or use of the content or images is permitted.  http://www.designboom.com/eng/education/folding/medieval.html
a print-publication will soon be available, for inquieries : mail@designboom.com

Views: 1429

Replies to This Discussion

history
role of the folding chair
.....................................................................................................
- egyptian -
---

---
folding chairs through the ages

many centuries the folding chair was considered
one of the most important pieces of furniture in the
house and a prized status symbol.
in ancient civilizations folding stools were used not
merely for sitting but also for ceremonial use.

---
among the most significant examples of egyptian
furniture is the folding stool, which was developed
2000-1500 b.c. as a portable chair for the commanding
officer in the army.
the folding chair was the symbol of the worthy divinity
(see tutankhamun's throne, the foldable seat with a
back support). its history as symbol of authority is
also traceable in the following cultures:

the egyptian folding stool and later, the greek and
the etruscan form, became the prototype of the
roman chair, the 'sella curulis', which was adapted
to the plebeian tribunal in the roman republican period.

the folding stool as a ceremonial chair developed in
two ways: one secular, and the other ecclesiastical.
the makeup of the roman 'sella curulis' assumes,
through the longobard 'sella plicatilis' in steel,
the form of the carolingian 'faldistorium'.
here we notice another typological alteration.
the crossed legs are frontal instead of being placed
laterally. this was to emphasize the crossing
'X' - structure which became a symbol of authority.
the most emblematic example is the throne of dagobert I,
king of the franconians.

the typology of the folding chair appeared just before
the renaissance. in the 16th century we find the
'sedia della forbice' (the scissors chair) that descended
from the 'faldistorium'. there are two principal variations:
the 'savonarola' and the 'dantesca',
followed by the 'chair of petrarca' and the 'sedia a tenaglia'
(the pincer chair). they represent the return of the crossed
legs placed laterally.

during the baroque period chairs with crossed legs
were not always foldable, especially during the period of
louis XIV-XVI, the 'X' structure had exclusively symbol
ic value. the field chair of napoleon I, the 'fauteuil'
derived etymologically from the older french 'faldestoel',
which derived from the latin 'faldistorium'.
the denomination maintains the concept of dignity which
was associated with the folding chair in the past.
the fauteuil is a forerunner of the director's chair in the
20th century.

as the folding chair itself became more common historically,
so naturally did the folding variety and the technical
achievements. while this reduced the status value of the
object, it lead to the development of new uses and new
design solutions.
by the 19th century, folding chairs were a widespread
utilitarian feature of public spaces where there was a
regular need to rearrange or remove seating.

military -
the folding chair has a long history in military use.
military objects respond above all to precise, immediate
functionalities. from it emerges an aesthetic, anchored
in thecollective memory.
but it was never desgned to be beautiful.
the field chair of napoleon I (fauteuil) derived etymologically
from the older french 'faldestoel' which derived from the latin
'faldistorium'. the denomination maintains the concept of
dignity which was associated with the folding chair in the past.
the ' napoleonic fauteuil' is a forerunner of the director's chair
in the 20th century.

patent -
novel ideas for folding chairs and stools are registered in
thousands of patents all over the world.
patent designers, inventors and general gadget makers
turned their energies to chair design and the notion of
foldability, adjustability and flexibility of design was paramount,
but the prolificacy of new projects does not always coincide
with a refinement.

recreation -
mobility / travel has increased to the point where there is a special
industry producing the smallest and lightest pieces of folding
furniture which can cope with every climate.
folding chairs are designed for camping, sitting on the beach,
attending a sporting event...
chairs for every habit, need and necessity.

utility -
folding chairs are designed for high school assemblies,
tip-up seats for theatres and cinemas ...
the main goal is to create a basic seating surface that is
comfortable for a short time and can be folded up
(and stored) easily.

'good design' -
the folding chair became an integral part of domestic furnishings.
the most completed modern folding chairs were created in
a period with social debates and technological progressions:
the first years of the industrialization (thonet), in the ambient
of the german rationalism (bauhaus), in the years of
scandinavian welfare and in the years of social objection (1965-75).




- greek -
---
- etruscan -
---
- roman -
---
- medieval -
---
- renaissance -
---
- asia -
---
- 17th / 18th century europe -
---
---
MODERN HISTORY

classification of folding chairs according to the location of
the folding mechanism / pivot.


---
FOLDING STOOLS
- X-shape -
---
- sticks -
---
- sit and stay -
---
---
FOLDING CHAIRS (pivot under seat-level)

- side- x chair (page 1) -
---
- side- x chair (page 2) -
---
- side- X chair with armrests -
---
- front- X / deckchair -
---
- front-X / director's chair -
---
- front-X / tripolina chair -
---
---
FOLDING CHAIRS (pivot over seat-level)

- beach chair -
---
- triangle shape -
---
- triangle shape with armrests -
---
---
FOLDING CHAIRS (pivot on seat-level)

- x-shape -
---
- theatre / tip-up seats -
---
- 'normal legs' -
---
- floor seat -
---
---
FOLDING CHAIRS (other)

- demountable -
---



THE ILLUSTRATED HISTORY OF FOLDING CHAIRS
has been compiled by birgit lohmann
(a thesis publication, july 1988, revised in june 2003)

© designboom
this history timeline is provided for educational purposes only,
no reproduction, re-use or transcription for any commercial purpose
or use of the content or images is permitted.
a print-publication will soon be available,
for inquieries : mail@designboom.com

---
acknowledgement
many thanks to the participants of designboom's second
design-aerobics course - a special thanks goes to the following
people for their contributions:
art perper, takashi ifuji, radu comsa, joshua larrabee, jim nagel,
erin caruth, larry cheng, carolina jimenez, michelle brick,
kevin mc donald, stanley ruiz, joellen schilke, marcos breder,
phil clowes, beatriz crespo, peter pontano,
susana salomon, oscar riano and haral jarabek.

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Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries had its humble beginnings as an idea of a few artisans and craftsmen who enjoy performing with live steel fighting. As well as a patchwork quilt tent canvas. Most had prior military experience hence the name.

 

Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries.

 

Vendertainers that brought many things to a show and are know for helping out where ever they can.

As well as being a place where the older hand made items could be found made by them and enjoyed by all.

We expanded over the years to become well known at what we do. Now we represent over 100 artisans and craftsman that are well known in their venues and some just starting out. Some of their works have been premiered in TV, stage and movies on a regular basis.

Specializing in Medieval, Goth , Stage Film, BDFSM and Practitioner.

Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries a Dept of, Ask For IT was started by artists and former military veterans, and sword fighters, representing over 100 artisans, one who made his living traveling from fair to festival vending medieval wares. The majority of his customers are re-enactors, SCAdians and the like, looking to build their kit with period clothing, feast gear, adornments, etc.

Likewise, it is typical for these history-lovers to peruse the tent (aka mobile store front) and, upon finding something that pleases the eye, ask "Is this period?"

A deceitful query!! This is not a yes or no question. One must have a damn good understanding of European history (at least) from the fall of Rome to the mid-1600's to properly answer. Taking into account, also, the culture in which the querent is dressed is vitally important. You see, though it may be well within medieval period, it would be strange to see a Viking wearing a Caftan...or is it?

After a festival's time of answering weighty questions such as these, I'd sleep like a log! Only a mad man could possibly remember the place and time for each piece of kitchen ware, weaponry, cloth, and chain within a span of 1,000 years!! Surely there must be an easier way, a place where he could post all this knowledge...

Traveling Within The World is meant to be such a place. A place for all of these artists to keep in touch and directly interact with their fellow geeks and re-enactment hobbyists, their clientele.

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