May 23, 1987|By Joseph Giovannini, New York Times
The 1960 Bantam copy of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina is 873 pages long, with about 460 words per page. Sitting bottomward and account beeline through the book, a actuality averaging 400 words a minute will absorb about 17 hours sitting. The armchair should be comfortable.
Good account chairs, however, are adamantine to find. While architects and designers accept lavished abundant time and activity bearing award-winning ancillary chairs, decidedly few abreast efforts abode the needs of a austere reader.
The scattering of avant-garde abstract includes the Eames lounge armchair and bassinet lounges by Le Corbusier, Alvar Aalto, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Richard Meier.
Traditional chairs, however, abide amid the best-suited for long, adequate account — the club chair, recliner, bassinet lounge, rocker and addition armchair are discreet and broadly accessible in appliance and administration stores.
Niels Diffrient, a acclaimed automated artist who has spent 30 years belief what makes chairs applied and comfortable, says an cocked account armchair should accept acceptable lower-back abutment and an upper-back blow that does not acclivity the clairvoyant too far forward.
The bench should not be so abysmal that it presses the calves, he says, and its advanced bend should not be so aerial that it presses beneath the thighs and cuts circulation. A account armchair should accept accoutrements to abutment the elbows, neither too low nor too high. Abutment for the arch should be at the ambit of the neck. The aforementioned belief administer to collapsed chairs but with several added considerations. ”The analytical allotment is the abutment of the arch aback a armchair is inclined,” Diffrient says. ”The best armchair for abiding account is the one abutting to lying down, like a bed. In that position, weight is not actuality transferred bottomward the anatomy to the appendage bone.”
The artist says that at greater collapsed angles, there is beneath charge for lower aback support. His Jefferson armchair is conceivably the ultimate in account chairs (although you may charge a accommodation to buy it).
Others, such as the bassinet lounge advised by the Finnish artist Alvar Aalto in 1936, appear abutting to affair Diffrient’s criteria. The Aalto chaise, however, is not adjustable, and a pillow may be all-important for the neck.
A recliner such as the BarcaLounger armchair is one of the few armchair types that can be acclimated in both a sitting and a collapsed position, and should be approved in both positions. Although abounding are athletic and comfortable, they sometimes attending somewhat dowdy.
Many addition chairs accept the subtlety defective in recliners, abnormally in the curves of the wings. The striped Hampton addition armchair and ottoman has the advantage of actuality ample abundant to anatomy a baby account environment: The large, enfolding wings actualize a faculty of privacy; there is allowance to move.
”I agonize aback I read, alteration positions every two or three pages,” says Samuel Friedman, admiral of ICF, a New York appliance showroom. ”So for me a armchair shouldn’t be too fitted.”
Rockers are one way to abate what designers alarm the jerk factor, back agitation accouterment the body.
Club chairs are acclaimed by abysmal seats. While they can be adipose in any material, the archetypal club chair, such as one by Kindel, is adipose in accoutrement — a awful abiding covering. With its acceptable proportions, the Eames lounge armchair ability be advised a blazon of club chair.
”We capital to accomplish a banal armchair as adequate as the old Morris chair,” says Ray Eames, who formed on the armchair with her husband, Charles, ”and we anticipation we could do that by creating genitalia that can flex.”
With its three genitalia affiliated so they accord hardly beneath the weight of the sitter, the armchair — produced by Herman Miller — has been one of the best approved account chairs back it aboriginal was produced about 30 years ago. Back then, 54,000 accept been sold.
For abounding people, the able-bodied armchair has become a lifetime investment. The armchair was adipose in leather, Charles Eames wrote, to accept ”the warm, acceptant attending of a well-used first-baseman’s mitt.”
Short of demography a ample Russian atypical to administration stores, the best way to apperceive chairs is to analyze them. Leonora Lee, who has awash bags of chairs in her 29 years on the appliance attic at B. Altman & Co., says: ”What you do is try them. Everybody sits abnormally in a armchair — see what sits best for you.”
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