Serpentine. Seductive. Salubrious. Tom Dixon’s iconic S Chair inhabits the very soul of the letter. In one sweeping, swooping gesture Dixon establishes it as a daring feat of industrial design and an audacious expression of sitting.
We know this much: the designer conceived S Chair back in the 80s. But his recollections of its generation are a bit hazy: ”honestly, the only memory I have is of drawing a small doodle of a chicken on the back of a napkin and thinking that I could make a chair from it.”
It’s a pretty humorous creation myth, especially for a chair lauded for its sensuous form and approximation of feminine beauty.
But S Chair is nothing if not enigmatic. And on the occasion of its 30th anniversary of production, Dixon is showing it in its many guises: from denim to leather; sheepskin to suede; plain old fabric to woven bullrush.
The first prototype was made of a rubber inner tube and steel rod. Today’s multiple iterations feature industrial hard/soft foam with a wool cover and iron steering-wheel base.
Dixon did a pop-up museum in London to celebrate the anniversary. And S Chair is in the permanent collections of many other museums including MOMA NY and V&A London.