Working Chair,designed by Bruno Mathsson
Mathsson, a Swedish architect and designer, designed chairs with webbing as an alternative to the heavier springs, stuffing, and upholstery of more expensive easy chairs. To achieve maximum comfort, he developed a new kind of frame, contoured to follow the curves of the human body and adapt to the person sitting in the chair rather than the other way around. The chairs represented a move away from the strict Bauhaus geometry seen in the tubular steel furniture of the 1930s toward the softened forms of Scandinavian wood furniture. When Alfred H. Barr Jr. the Director of the Museum of Modern Art, and John McAndrew, the museum’s Curator of Architecture, were designing the Members’ Lounge for the new museum building in 1939, they wanted to up-to-date furnishings that reflected the museum’s commitment to Good Design. They selected four Mathsson chairs for the reception area overlooking midtown Manhattan. In 1944, Barr’s successor René d’Harnoncourt wrote of Mathsson’s design: “A chair made of strong but airy webbing slung from a light frame of bent laminated wood strips. Its body-fitting shape and elegance replace cumbersome upholstery.” It was included in MoMA’s 1955 Good Design exhibition.