DÉCOR IDEAS: THE MONOBLOC DIARIES.
We revisit this unassuming plastic chair that somehow managed to conquer the world, one seat at a time. Get to know its history and check out our designer offerings as well.
Take a closer look at the world’s most popular chair, learn about its history and relevance, and see that it is still evolving up until today.
Between then and now, the production of monobloc chairs has managed to become something of a widespread global phenomenon, to a process that no one is paying any real attention to. That’s no surprise—this piece of furniture is so common, you wouldn’t even bother to know how different one is from the other.
Ethan Zuckerman, blogger and Director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Center for Civic Media, once wrote of the monobloc: “Virtually every object suggests a time and place. The shape of electrical outlets, labels on any consumer products, fabrics, clothing—all [are] clues as to whether a photo was taken in the 1970s or last week, in Sweden or Schenectady. The monobloc is one of the few objects I can think of that is free of any specific context. Seeing a white plastic chair in a photograph offers you no clues about where or when you are.”
But as generic as it is, there is no denying of the monobloc’s success. Assistant Professor Teresa Quevedo of the University of the Philippines College of Home Economics surmises, “What gives the monobloc chair its staying power is its versatility and affordability. As a product, the chair is familiar and acceptable across all social classes. Ask any Filipino, and they will probably know what a monobloc chair is, even if they are not sure of its spelling.” This is undeniably true. From the carinderia around the corner to the office, mall, and food park nearest you, you’re bound to find more than a handful of these chairs. You may even have one in your home!
It is, perhaps, the most ubiquitous piece of furniture that is also often overlooked: the “lowly” monobloc chair. You see it at children’s parties, at community gatherings, or even on the streets. While it costs only a few hundred pesos these days, this everyday piece originally cost approximately P2,500! RL’s first feature on the monobloc was in May 2004, so read on, and get to see our favorite chair in a new light.
(Opposite page) 101 Classic Monobloc Chairs, P276 each; (this page) 101 Candy-colored Monobloc Chairs, P390 each, all from Uratex