The Universal Chair
Updated: Jun 6, 2020
The Monobloc often described as the world's most common plastic chair. It is one of the few objects I can think of that is free of any specific context having achieved a global ubiquity. The Monobloc can be found wherever there is a need for cheap seating in European gardens, African cafés, Asian restaurants...Seeing a plastic chair in a photo offers you no clues about where you are! This one-piece plastic chair has become a part of everyday life and show cultural connotations.
The idea of the Monobloc chair is based on an old vision shared by many designers: to make a chair out of a single piece of material experiments with this idea date back to the 1920s. Early attempts involved pressing sheet metal or bending laminated wood. Beginning in the 1950s, new plastics technology made it possible to fabricate chairs by molding or pressing the material into the desired shape in a single production step tiny bead polypropylene and color concentrate melted at a temperature of 200ºC, then injected into the mold. Sixty seconds later, a 2.5kg (or less) plastic chair is unveiled. The process of production hasn't changed since 1987.
Though the design details differed they shared similar features that proved to be the advantages: lightweight, cheap, and the most important thing: stackable. By offering the flexibility to seat just as many people as needed, this space-saving design eventually replaced Thonet's Chair No.14 as a furniture of choice of kopitiams, the local coffee shop of Malaysia and neighboring Singapore.
Unlike most of the chairs become iconic for a specific aesthetic or function, the plastic chair become popular for both it's material and design, the result is a highly functional and affordable piece of furniture used by people all over the world.
I got my Monobloc with Shell logo on it when got my Julio fixed at the motorbike station
I especially like the form of this one among countless versions of this chair. It looks bold and strong like the guy gave it to me.