The purpose of designing an affordable plastic chair is an established design endeavour since the 1960s. The goal is to enable comfortable seating in both domestic and public environments, indoors and outdoors, achieved by the efficiency of mass production permitted by plastic injection. Several attempts have been made to achieve this goal, with different levels of success.
The Polyside chair, commonly known as “Polyprop” was designed by Robin Day (1963) and produced by S.Hille & Co. It is the most ubiquitous plastic chair ever made. The shell, made in injected-moulded polypropylene, is attached to the legs produced in tubular steel. We can seat on this low-cost super normal chair in several everyday environments, ranging from schools to hospitals, to restaurants or our homes.
IKEA tries to accomplish a similar goal with the Janinge: appeal to a vast range of consumers, both domestic and institutional through an affordable chair. This new multi-use chair was designed by the Stockholm based design studio Form Us With Love and it is going to be launched worldwide from February 2015.
Janinge is a stackable chair made in mix of 75% polypropylene and 25% fiberglass. There are two versions: with or without armrests. The colour variants are white, grey and yellow. Stylistically it resembles the Scandinavian chairs, made with wooden frames and plywood panels for the supporting areas. Although the archetype it is not new, we must wait a few years to understand if the design quality, combined with IKEA’s presence in several countries and consumers’ demand are sufficient to achieve the goal of democratisation of chair design.