Ok—it's been a couple of days since I have written on here... its the end of this super awesome experience that I have been going through, but I have needed a couple of days off from everything to be honest to prepare for heading back to real life. The good news is that I still have the itch for writing, and I'm going to try and keep this up as long as I can.
I remember asking my professor in a history of design class what the big deal with chairs was.., We were studying the history of design from the early 1800s through to the early 2000s over two semesters, and chairs were artifacts that came up so consistently I just wasn't sure if it was his biases or something that designers do. My memory got jogged about this when I visited the Schaudepot. A collection of "400 of the most iconic pieces of furniture", and 95% of them are chairs. I asked the curator who was giving us a tour, and she responded that there may well be two reasons (these echoed my professors views also), that chairs are a basic article which people desire and need, and that because of the governing principles behind them the core components of them haven't changed over time.
That was one of the most awesome things about going to the Schaudepot, seeing the evolution of chairs—somewhat mimicking the evolution of human industry and culture. As new materials and processes are discovered, they are fairly quickly represented in chairs to either drive function or cost. At the same time, as cultural tastes adapt form and composition of chairs change and even the fundamentals of design (like form vs. function) are questioned through movements like post-modernism.
I guess I'm not 100% why they are so important to us—I mean, honestly, not every chair out there is a statement or an exploration of the tenants of design—but they definitely act as an interesting way for us to view designs relationship with society and culture.