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.

Real Living (Philippines) - - Realliving - words AN­DREA J. POR­TU­GAL pro­duc­tion, styling & ad­di­tional re­port­ing DAGNY MADAMBA pho­tog­ra­phy DAIRY DARILAG & MICHAEL AN­GELO CHUA ad­di­tional styling KAMILA GAR­CIA

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

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