Small World for Two Persons

Does anyone out there remember the swinging pirate ship ride? Long before Pirates of the Caribbean (thus before pirates were cool…), this cheesy contraptation was basically a plasticized facsimile of a warship – complete with the skull on the hull – made to swing fore and aft like an oversized pendulum.

Small World for Two Persons. Designed by Iwona Kosicka.

Unremarkable in other respects, the ride distinguished itself from the proximal slew of nausea-inducing entertainments via its seating arrangement: since the interior was basically like a giant canoe, passengers were split into two facing groups. This arrangement created a sort of team mentality – as the tempo of the ride increased and the “ship” approached vertical, you could watch the sickening expressions of your foes across the way, perhaps engaging them in an unspoken competition to keep down your hot dogs and cotton candy.

Far removed from the gum-spattered asphalts of Six Flags or Disneyland, Poland’s Iwona Kosicka nevertheless evokes the pirate ride principle with her Small World for Two Persons – an inventive concept that’s one part dining nook and one part bentwood rocker. Maybe the best way to describe it is as two facing carriage-seat rocking chairs joined by an intimate table. Like a tandem bike (or a teeter-totter, for that matter), Small World will rock fore and aft with the synchronized movements of its inhabitants—not sure what that foretells for the dining experience, but let’s just say that cooperation is in order. The effect of being in a world of one’s own is heightened by the side panels of the joined seats: as with many of her designs, Kosicka embellishes via removal, and in this case the side mesh reveals a delicate pattern of autumn leaves that lets through light but still provides a buffer from the larger world beyond.

Small World is rather large—it certainly isn’t for small spaces—but would work in open floor plans. I see it in the lofts and converted warehouses of certain frosty Northern cities: Oslo, St. Petersburg, even Reykjavik. It would also work well in themed coffee houses or bars. Just be sure to be still or batten down your drinkables.

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