Fun Fact: That "white plastic chair" as we all call it, is the most widely used piece of furniture in the world. It is actually called the Monobloc. And, it is designed by Canadian D.C. Simpson in 1946, variants of the one-piece plastic chair went into production with Allibert Group and Grosfillex Group in the 1970s.
The idea of the so-called Monobloc chair is based on an old vision shared by many designers: to make a chair out of a single piece of material. Experiments with this idea date back to the 1920s – early attempts involved pressing sheet metal or bending laminated wood. Beginning in the 1950s, new plastics technology made it possible to fabricate chairs by moulding or pressing the material into the desired shape in a single production step. The moniker Monobloc is derived from this simple production method and the plain appearance of the resulting furniture pieces.
As it has spread around the world, the Monobloc chair has come to represent the ambivalence of today’s consumer society. The plastic chair is the epitome of an affordable – and thus democratic – piece of furniture. At the same time, it does not meet sustainability criteria and exemplifies the global mass consumption of uniform products.
The plastic chair stands for a pluralistic approach to design history beyond the classic canon. Precisely due to its multifaceted nature, the plastic chair symbolises the complexity of material culture in our time.