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Plastic chair associated with Vietnam’s street food named among century's most defining pieces of furniture

Thursday, April 04, 2024, 12:20 GMT+7
Plastic chair associated with Vietnam’s street food named among century's most defining pieces of furniture
People sit on monobloc plastic chairs to watch football on Bui Vien Street in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City on June 28, 2018. Photo: Dong Nguyen / Tuoi Tre News

The monobloc chair, whose designer remains unknown, made it onto the list of the 25 most defining pieces of furniture from the last 100 years by The New York Times Style Magazine. 

A panel including “three designers, a museum curator, an artist and a design-savvy actress” convened at The New York Times to make the list of the most enduring and significant objects for living.

Among the objects, the monobloc chair from the 20th century was cherry-picked. 

It was described as “a single piece of extruded white plastic, immune to trend and cultish adoration.”

A screenshot shows monobloc chairs featured in The 25 Most Defining Pieces of Furniture From the Last 100 Years list by The New York Times Style Magazine.

A screenshot shows monobloc chairs featured in The 25 Most Defining Pieces of Furniture From the Last 100 Years list by The New York Times Style Magazine.

With a barely verifiable history, the design is both the original and an imitation, and costs very little to produce, The New York Times wrote.

‘With zero adornments except for its flared legs and fanned seashell back, it cannot be called beautiful, though it is familiar, and for some people, that can have the same pleasing effect,” The New York Times said. 

Although the creator of the monobloc chair is unknown, some trace its origin to a 1946 prototype by the Canadian designer D.C. Simpson.

Often spoken of as the most widely used piece of furniture in the world, the chair “shows up at both Biloxi cookouts and roadside bars on the outskirts of Jakarta.”

“In every part of the world, you’ll find these chairs,” NYC Museum of Modern Art’s senior curator of architecture and design Paola Antonelli commented. 

In Vietnam, it is also typically used in many Vietnamese households and street food eateries, in a variety of colors and shapes.

Green monobloc chairs are used at a coffee shop on the street in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Dong Nguyen / Tuoi Tre

Green monobloc chairs are used at a coffee shop on the street in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Dong Nguyen / Tuoi Tre News

Included in the list of “The 25 Most Defining Pieces of Furniture From the Last 100 Years” were the Sacco Chair designed by Piero Gatti, Cesare Paolini, and Franco Teodoro in  1968; the Chaise Longue à Réglage Continu designed by Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret, and Charlotte Perriand in 1928; the Ergon Chair designed by Bill Stumpf in 1976; the Table With Wheels designed by Gae Aulenti in 1980; the 606 Universal Shelving System designed by Dieter Rams in 1960; and the Roly-Poly Chair designed by Faye Toogood in 2014, to name a few. 

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