Publisher: Onomatopee, Editor: Matteo Guarnaccia, ISBN: 9789493148451, Format: softback, 388pp, 170 x 240mm
Cross Cultural Chairs is a research project that studies the ritual of gathering and sitting within both a local and global framework. Matteo Guarnaccia, the project’s initiator, travelled to the 8 highest populated countries where he collaborated with designers and artisans in each country to produce a chair that resonates with the cultural context of that specific society.
The habit of sitting, the act of gathering, and the making of a chair all differ per country and depend on cultural context, available resources, and inherited knowledge. Where in one country one prefers to sit on a wooden chair, in another one may prefer to sit on the knees, on the ground, or on a cushion. The cultural context of furniture differs highly across the globe. And yet, if we look at what is available in stores worldwide, it sometimes seems as if we are all supposed to sit on the same monotonous, mass-produced chair. How can we better understand the cultural context of furniture around the globe with respect towards its culture- and site-specificity?
Over the course of 8 months, Cross Cultural Chairs travelled to the 8 most populated countries in the world to delve into this question. Together with local artisans, designers, researchers, and curators, Cross Cultural Chairs explores both the technical and social aspects of furniture, in order to better understand the impact of globalization on both the design of the chair itself and its consumption.
The Cross Cultural Chairs installation at Onomatopee shows the chair with which this project started off – the white plastic garden chair – and a wide variety of research material, images, and questions. With the installation, Onomatopee wishes to ignite a cross-cultural conversation on sitting globally in a (now more than ever before) local context.