You Can Now Watch Vitra’s Documentary About the History of Chairs for Free

published May 10, 2020
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Credit: Vitra

There are so many free videos to watch right now: art classes, the Globe theater’s Shakespeare performances, countless virtual tours… and now a documentary about chairs.

Screening for free during the pandemic, Chair Times is a documentary by furniture company Vitra, directed by Heinz Bütler. Through objects from the Vitra Design Museum’s collection, it examines the history of chairs.

“Chairs are important historical artefacts,” says Rolf Fehlbaum, chairman emeritus of Vitra on the film’s website

“They can represent the fashion and ethos of a particular moment in time or stand for an epochal idea. They are portraits of their users and reflect the production techniques with which they were created. You can recognise and understand an era – its social structures, its materials, techniques and fashions – by its chairs. I would go as far as to say that no other everyday object is so multi-faceted.”

In Chair Times, 125 chairs are lined up in “an ocean of chairs,” in order of production, from 1807 to 2018, when the film was made. The film includes interviews with a long list of experts, including designers Hella Jongerius, Antonio Citterio and Ronan Bouroullec, architect David Chipperfield, and staff from the Vitra Design Museum.

You can stream Chair Times (in German with English subtitles) for free here.