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When is a chair... by Peter Jewell

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joerd Vroonland’s Extension Chair saw you coming and knew you were going to hang a coat on it. Whimsical and practical, it rates 10 out of 10 on the Form Follows Function scale. Weights hidden under the seat guarantee that this chair cum coat rack will not fall over in those few seconds between receiving your coat on the high extension and accommodating your bottom in the usual place. Vroonland says that a sense of humour was not foremost in his mind when he created this piece, but that most people do smile, chuckle or laugh in recognition of how they treat a chair when they first set eyes on this creation.

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design only chairs now,” Vroonland told What Makes You Happy. “Chairs are the most interesting things for a designer. Anything can be a lamp, for example, if you just put a light on it, but a chair must have function – you make physical contact with it, so it’s about comfort and a lot of things.”

his and more versions of Vroonland’s chairs that have sprouted small trees, purse hooks and mirrors can be seen and ordered at www. vroonland.info. One of the essential discussions in second year Philosophy classes is “When is a chair not a chair?” It would take a week to cope with the answer “When it’s a coat rack” and there is enough material on Vroonland’s site to keep the philosophers sitting in deep discussion for an extra term.

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