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The Round Chair: A Highly Recommended Rosewood Furniture

by Stephen James 22 Oct 2023 0 comments


The round chair symbolizes the concept of "heaven is round, and the earth is square," just like a grand universe within a piece of furniture, warmly enveloping and nurturing people.

Round Chair

When it comes to the round chair, a plethora of awe-inspiring adjectives are used without hesitation: meticulously selected materials, refined and elegant design, ingenious and rational structure, exquisite craftsmanship, simplicity combined with beauty, spacious and graceful, carrying profound philosophical insights.

It carries a philosophical meaning: the greatness of simplicity, wisdom in humility, the capacity for vast knowledge, the goodness akin to water, the strength of virtue, the dedication to follow the natural order, and the commitment to mutual prosperity... However, the beauty of the round chair transcends verbal expression.

In Buddhist scripture, it is said: "Three thousand weak waters, only taking a sip." Redwood follows a similar principle.

If owning an entire set of redwood furniture is out of reach, one can embark on the journey of appreciating redwood furniture starting with a redwood round chair.

Round Chair

1. Aligning with Nature's Laws

In the natural world, everything adheres to specific laws. Ancient China celebrated a humanistic spirit that revered and harmonized with nature, which is vividly reflected in the design of architecture, furniture, and utensils.

Round Chair

The design of the round chair draws inspiration from the growth of trees. The backrest of the round chair resembles the main trunk of a tree, while the chair's circle and legs resemble branches. Connecting bars, swan necks, corner teeth, and coupon teeth serve as representations of branches and leaves, not only adding decorative elements but also paying tribute to nature. No matter how ornate the decoration, it will never overshadow the unique charm of the chair's circle and legs.

Exceptional design brings comfort, clear differentiation between primary and secondary elements, and an insight into the thoughts and depth of the designer.

2. Resonating with Chinese Characters

The character "宋" originally signifies building houses with wood, symbolizing dwelling and indirectly referring to the name of a nation or a dynasty. The character "立" initially denotes a person standing between heaven and earth.

In "Shuowen Jiezi," it is explained that "宝盖头" symbolizes houses, and all characters related to "宝盖头" were initially associated with houses. Another word associated with houses is "宇宙" (universe).

Round Chair

The original meaning of "宇宙" is architecture, referring to the eaves and beams. In the "Huainanzi•Lanming Xun," it is mentioned, "The phoenix soars, it embodies virtue... but it competes with the sparrow in the universe." "宇" represents eaves, and "宙" represents beams.

Later, "宇宙" extended to time and space, reflecting the ancient Chinese belief that the natural universe is like a grand house that provides shelter to people. The outside world is a vast universe, while the interior represents a smaller universe.

As shown in the figure below, the design of the round chair's circle aligns with the seal script of "宝盖头."

The round chair, much like a grand universe within a piece of furniture, warmly surrounds and protects people. Therefore, the core concept in the ancient design of the round chair is "heaven is round, and the earth is square."

3, The Marvel of Proportional Design

A detailed exploration of the design proportions of the Yellow Flower Pear Armchair, employing principles of geometric design such as compositional analysis, dimension measurement, and proportional calculations to reveal its aesthetic form.

Yellow Flower Pear Armchair

These images clearly demonstrate that from a scientific perspective, the armchair can also evoke a sense of wonder! (For more details, please refer to the Analysis of Ming-Style Armchair Design Proportions)

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4, Setting the Trend in Elegance

As the most renowned Ming-style furniture, the armchair has long quietly led the way in fashion.

It is essential to mention Danish design master Hans Wegner, the first enthusiast of Chinese-style chair design to spread the armchair's design concept worldwide.

Hans Wegner

In 1944, Wegner was tasked with designing a wooden chair, requiring it to be made to the highest standards with an exceptionally curved armrest effect. He contemplated various solutions but couldn't find one satisfying enough.

It wasn't until one day at the Danish Museum of Art and Design that he gained inspiration after seeing the Chinese Ming-style armchair. He directly named this chair The Chinese Chair.

The Chinese Chair

The Chinese Chair features a semi-circular backrest connected to armrests, fitting the curvature of the human back. The leg and foot sections are supported by four interconnected legs, closely resembling the Chinese armchair.

The only apparent difference from the Ming-style armchair is in the lower section, where it lacks the ornate patterns and footrest components.

Among Wegner's numerous designs, The Chinese Chair is considered one of his most important works. Initially named the Round Chair, it didn't make an immediate impact upon its first appearance. It was only in 1950 when it graced the cover of an American interior magazine that it gradually gained recognition, hailed as the " most beautiful chair in the world."

Subsequently, it gained even more recognition after John Kennedy sat on it during an election debate, securing its place among the world's iconic chairs.

John Kennedy

Nixon also used the chair during a televised debate.

Copenhagen Climate Conference

The chair was used at the Copenhagen World Climate Conference.

5, Creating Auction Miracles

The armchair has not only inspired designers from both China and abroad but has also set numerous astonishing records in the auction market.

In March 2015, Christie's auctioned off a "Set of Four 17th Century Huanghuali Armchairs" for a record-breaking $9.685 million, establishing a new record for Huanghuali furniture auctions.

Set of Four 17th Century Huanghuali Armchairs

After listing the advantages of these armchairs, one suddenly feels that not having a set of these armchairs at home is somewhat out of place!

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