What’s your vision of the iconic rocker? If, like me, you were raised on a healthy TV-based diet that included pastoral visions of the American West as dramatized in artistic tours de force like The Waltons or Little House on the Prairie, chances are it’s a handcrafted wooden affair with a cane seat and a signature quarter arc rocker, even complete, perhaps, with the built-in country metronome of a gentle squeak. Don’t, however, put this proposition to Germany’s Atelier 522. Their Western Rocker puts the concept through the ringer, subbing hard plastic for wood, and a pared-down shape for the familiar contours found on American front porches everywhere.
Western Rocker. Designed by Atelier 522 for Serafini.
A Very Euro Rocking Stool
Perhaps it’s not fair to pigeonhole it in this way, but the Western Rocker seems to me quintessentially European. I see this in its simplified form, its use of modern materials, and its hyper-colored palette of availability—all qualities that articulate a sort of iconic “anti-rockernesss.” Of course, as with the great traditions of European essentialist art, the Western Rocker captures the soulful core of the original Western rocker. Atelier 522’s contribution to the genre looks very like the western saddle that country folk might throw upon a very Western horse. Further, its functionality is every bit the same—saving the backless constraint, a feature that, in fact, aligns the experience of the Western Rocker more closely with that of living in the West (for those who are cowboys, that is, and who thus not only ride horses but also spend their down time perched atop a split rail fence).
If, however, like most of us, you neither live in Texas nor ride the range, you can still employ the Western Rocker for a vicarious and virtual thrill, and when you’re done, no need to tie it to the hitching post; instead, simply pick it up and take it along with you: “young and old all take turns to sit and rock on the Western… the special feature of the Western is its three-dimensional GRP seat shape with a recessed grip for easy carrying.”