Monday, July 02, 2007

Bringing Back the "Momma Chair"

Twenty plus years ago I worked at the library (Penrose) on the University of Denver campus. Now Penrose is not a particularly beautiful building, there are many modern structures that are prettier. In fact Penrose is downright ugly, especially when you look at all the older and new buildings around it.

It was built in the 70's and unless the interior has been redone, it really shows (ed) it. The main floor was done in bright orange, from orange carpet, to orange wall paper to orange furniture. The second floor was done in yellow and the basement was done in red. And yes, there was "egg" furniture.

There was/is even a sculpture in front that no one knows what it is. We called it "the Paperclip."

I like to be "wowed!" and enchanted by libraries. I love to be inspired by the outside as well as the inside main floor of a library. the utilitarian feel of many public libraries in Denver during the 1960s - 1980's really turned me off. Except I have a growing fondness for the airy, 1950's brutalism of the "old" main library (1955-1995).

Massachusetts, by contrast, seems to understand the emotional connection to the building called the "library." Even when a community needs to expand it's library or make it wheelchair accessible, the imperative seems to be to save the original structure in all it’s beauty.

But I digress, back to Penrose.

In the employee lounge there were these huge black foam chairs. They were probably once all over the library, but in the 1980s they resided just in the employee lounge. They weren’t pretty, but these chairs were some of the most comfortable around, and if you weren’t careful you could overstay your lunch hour and fall deeply asleep.

One of my co-workers came up with a reason these chairs were so comfortable is that they were based on a mother’s lap, with the mother sitting cross legged. The breast forms at the top where one could rest their head, literally in the cleavage. The “mother’s” thighs made up the arms of the chair, and a little tummy pounch, which just happened to support your back.

Once we all looked at the chair as a whole, we knew he was right.

If they bring back these chairs, buy one. If you ever have a chance to sit in one, take it!

see also:
Modern Machanix
1970: Foam Furniture Rises Like Bread

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