Electric Chairs

A few months ago, at a dinner party here in Seattle, the subject came up (as it seems to often these days, for some reason) of the difficulty or unpleasantness of reading on a computer screen. But one woman observed, “It’s not the screen–it’s the chair.” She observed that even so-called ergonomic computer chairs are made for typing, not for reading. They require you to sit up straight, and so on. “What I want is a computer chair you can curl up in with your mouse and a cup of coffee.”


The challenge of getting people to read on a computer screen is one we face every day here at SLATE. And, since there’s very little we can do about the screen, we thought we’d take up this woman’s notion about the chair. Our art director, Ian Adelman, contacted several designers to ask for their suggestions. Some of the results are reproduced here. They are generally more whimsical (or is it postmodern?) than we intended. But they are suggestive nonetheless.

Any actual or would-be furniture designers in the SLATE readership are welcome to e-mail or otherwise send in their own suggestions.

–Michael Kinsley