“I had three chairs in my house; one for solitude, two for friendship, three for society.”
– Henry David Thoreau
A single, empty chair in a welcoming place beckons, seduces you to get off your feet, to sit, sink, pause and look inward and outward and feel the wonder of not moving and taking a moment just to be. Conversely, close to and facing the wall, that same chair, that same solitude, shames and isolates and refuses comfort. A chair on its side telegraphs upheaval, chaos, even crime.
In pairs, chairs spawn interaction and anticipation. Side-by-side, face-to-face, back-to-back empty chairs in twos are for friends, lovers or people alone who wait and wonder when or if the empty seat will ever be taken.
Three chairs in a row are a classroom. Around a table, those same chairs are a meeting or a meal. Chairs are situational entities, configure them with other chairs or objects and they call people to connect, communicate, confront—talk to the chair—or pray.
Chairs are central to how we conduct our lives. We choose a chair for its construction aesthetics and ergonomics, and all of this makes a chair—every chair—equal parts critically important and exceptionally mundane.