Quick History: The Acapulco Chair

Quick History: The Acapulco Chair

Anna Hoffman
May 3, 2012

In the 1950s and '60s, Acapulco became a hot destination for the jet set. Airline ads and other images from the time depict a glamorous, fun beachy town in full technicolor. The rat pack vacationed there, Liz Taylor got married (again) there, Jackie and John Kennedy honeymooned there. And at some point during that era, someone designed the Acapulco chair.

Legend has it that a French tourist was visiting Acapulco in the '50s and was uncomfortably hot atop a solidly-constructed chair in the Mexico sunshine. Inspired by the open string construction of traditional Mayan hammocks nearby, he designed a chair fit for the modern tropics.

Whether or not this is true — who was that mysterious visionary Frenchman? — the Acapulco chair was first produced in the '50s, and quickly became popular in Mexico. Usually made of vinyl cords on a metal, slightly pear-shaped frame, the Acapulco chair has most commonly been used as outdoor lounge seating, in bright, tropical colors.

Lately, designers have been producing some variations on the Acapulco theme — round versions, leather versions, Mobius strip loveseat versions, etc. In all its iterations, the Acapulco chair shows its roots in folk design, modernism and tropical Hollywood glamour.

Sources: Greenpoint Works handmakes the Classic ($399) and Leather ($499) versions in Brooklyn. Innit Designs makes a Classic ($475), a Rocker ($480) and a child-sized version ($250). Ocho Workshop has lots of fun colorful versions and is based in Mexico. Apparently it's also available (and inexpensive!) all over Acapulco, so if you go, please bring some back for me?

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(Images: 1 The Acapulco chair from Greenpoint Works; 2 Vintage Coke ad, via vintageadbrowser.com; 3 1963 Elvis movie, Fun in Acapulco, via VVN; 4 Acapulco Chair in red from Acapulco Chair; 5 Acapulco Leather chair from Greenpoint Works; 6 Acapulco chairs at the Standard Hotel, New York (in the background), via quintessentiallyreserve.com; 7 Woman weaving a Mayan hammock, from stylemexican.com; 8 Pedro Reyes "Moebius Strip" Acapulco loveseat, via Core 77.)

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