A Brief History of Chairs

On the Paris Review, an excerpt from Witold Rybczynski’s forthcoming book “Now I Sit Me Down: From Klismos to Plastic Chair: A Natural History,” delves into the development of chairs as we know them. Beginning with a survey of how cultures across the globe choose to sit (and how it pertains to their region, climate and more), Rybczynski then segues into the history of the furniture and its correlation to our posture. Chairs were created to be a reprieve from standing and have, in some instances, changed quite substantially. But Rybczynski points out that our behavior might not have—nobody really sits still, most people shift actively regardless of what design elements have been added.