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The ingenious history of Stackable Chairs

The ingenious history of Stackable Chairs

Stackable Chairs are an example of ingenuity: a quick and easy way to provide additional seating that can be stored away vertically to maximize available space when not in use. Relatively cheap, beautifully simple in design, cost-effective, and considerably simple to manufacture; they have evolved to become a triumph of both form and function. Stackable chairs are omnipresent pieces of furniture: go somewhere, especially a public place, and you’ll find them there; lined up in rows and columns or neatly stacked on top of each other.

So how did these unique chairs get their start? Well, they were designed in the year 1963 by Robin Day, one of the most relevant British furniture designers of the 20th century, for S. Hille & Co. The chairs were meant; as they are today, to provide a seating solution for large gatherings; and were created to be stacked snugly on top of each other for easy storage before and after these gatherings. S. Hille & Co. asked Day to create a chair that was low-cost and could be bought by anyone who wanted one, a chair that could be easily mass-produced, and a chair that could be used for a wide range of seating applications. Day used a process called injection molding to manufacture the chairs out of Polypropylene; a lightweight thermoplastic material that offered high impact-resistance properties.

Day’s Stackable chairs first hit the British markets in 1965, and were priced at a little under £3. That same year, the chairs won the Council of Industrial Design Award.  Although they now come in an almost infinite variety of shades and colors, they were originally available in only two: charcoal black and flame red. As the chairs began to see widespread use, the original design began to evolve in both color and style: with variations in the chair’s base design and upholstery. Aside from the usual “polypro” Stackable chairs, there were also stackers that were made with metal frames and upholstered and cushioned in vinyl and in fabric. There were also other variations, such as the Series E Stackable Chairs which were made in five sizes and featured lifting holes. Another design variant is the Polo chair; which featured rows of graduated circular holes that were suitable for outdoor use. Nowadays, there are wooden Stackable chairs, 2-seater stackers, armchairs, and stacking stools. The Stackable Chair’s iconic status was cemented in the year 2009 when it was chosen to be part of a series of British stamps that were printed to honor “British Design Classics”.

These ingenious chairs have seen use in more than forty countries around the world and continue to be ubiquitous fixtures in offices, hospitals, restaurants, airports, convention centers, convenience stores, classrooms, school canteens, arenas, and homes. They have the unique distinction of being the best-selling chairs in the world with over 14 million units sold. Day’s ingeniously-designed chair lives on, and is kept in production by the original company’s current successor of sorts; Hille Educational Products. Indeed, the Stackable Chair will continue to become an essential part of our living, working, and social spaces for as long as people need an extra seat.

Seats and Chairs.com offer a line of Stackable Chairs perfect for instant seating at your home or any other venue. We also sell Used and New Movie Theater Chairs, Commercial Grade Power Movie Theater Seats with Recliners, Accessories, and Installation and Removal, Rental, Refurbishment and other Movie Seat Services. You can give us a call at (800) 632-7657, send us an e-mail at willsean@seatsandchairs.com, or better yet; contact us online for all of your questions and for more information.

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