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The Hidden Status Behind Chairs…

“We are all guilty of taking the little things in life for granted that sometimes we are blinded by the hidden messages in society.”

Sometimes it’s useful to take a step back from life and take an objective stance on the things we take for granted. Plain everyday things. Things that we don’t usually think about in our fast paced, busy lifestyles.

There are actually many people who agree with looking at things more simplistically as well. With a growth in primitive style living has even lead to some people in adopting a stance of no modern technology. However, far from these extremes, this post is about appreciating the everyday things that not many people think about.

As specialists in comfort we thought that we would take the liberty of explaining the understated value of chairs in society and how we take them for granted nearly every day. Undoubtedly you will sit on a chair every single day but rarely will you think about it or take into account the status that is attached to it.

The thing is, we know that chairs have a functional use and if the correct seating is chosen, people can benefit from improved posture and better quality health. Spreading weight across the surface of the chair is important, as well as dimensions, size and functionality.

However far from the functional aspects of a chair, people should also be conscious of design aspects and be, at least partially preoccupied with aesthetics. Once you have met your immediate comfort needs, a piece of furniture should be a statement to others and can almost be an extension of your own personality.

The truth is that again, after your comfort levels are determined, chairs are really about meaning.

Although important, a chairs function is not just to provide a place of rest, it’s a platform for self-expression and can actually say a lot about your personality. Chairs are about status, indicating something about oneself.

For example when a hopeful MP wins an election contest in their constituency, they effectively win a seat in parliament. This seat represents a role or duty that the individual has to perform to the public. And just as they have been appointed by the public, their duty can be taken away again when another election has been called. Therefore everyone in some way can be indirectly attached to a seat.

The status of chairs doesn’t just stop at an MP’s seat though, it runs right the way through our political and legal system. For example, for those that are in the government’s cabinet we have frontbenchers who have prime seats in the House of Common. Similarly, backbenchers is also the name given to those that attend parliament.

In a less literal sense you could take this argument one step further and say that the chair of a meeting has the ability to set the agenda and has control of the discussion that is taking place. Furthermore, the chairman of a company is said to have overall responsibility and essentially decides the direction that the business will take, further emphasising that there is a great deal of status and significance labelled to chairs.

However, other than high status professions or business people, there are also some clues to suggest that the status of chairs can be transferrable to the home. For example, at Christmas time or even whilst eating dinner each evening; was there ever a member of the family who would sit at the head of the table, effectively having the best seat in the house? It’s a strange phenomenon but one that occurs almost every day in our lives.

If we move from the kitchen to the living room, was there a family member who had a specific chair that they would rarely let anyone sit in? Think about your mum and dad and then your nan and grandad; this has literally been going on for generations. Even as children many of us would have had a favourite spot on the sofa that we might challenge other siblings for.

The truth is that we are all guilty of taking the little things in life for granted that sometimes we are blinded by the subtle hidden messages in society. The status that is attached to seats, chairs and benches is just another example of this. In the coming weeks look out for what your HSL Chairs says about you.


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