design practice and theory
|The question of the geometrical relations in the human body
considered in anthropometry and it is still open in ergonomy.
a look at some suggestions, for the moment limited mainly to the
Chairs in the past really were thrones, the sitting position being reserved for kings, bishops and the like. Michelangelo presented Mose sitting but not ordinary people, Leonardo in his studies of proportions, draws man in a standing pose. The sitting position was not studied until required by industrial production of chairs for the masses. But still then it poses many questions.
I started some investigation related to standards and modules in interior design, especially related to the sitting position.
|I decided that it was nearly time that the angry looking man Leonardo drew in his notebooks between 1490 and 1519 and, finally got a seat. (note.1) He is effectively smiling now, perhaps also because the modularity is guaranteed, both for the seating height and the angle. The seat is inscribed in a circle half the size of the original circle and corresponds to the Modulor of Le Corbusier.|
|I used for this research the range of
as indicated by J.Ohara to whom goes the merit of having selected
from his research of approx. 200 inclinations of seats and
six fundamental types. (note.2)
I aligned these types along a vertical passing through the ischium bone, where most of the weight of the human body is loaded on the seat. A singular convergence is thus found for both the seat and the backrest angles.
The red blue chair has an angle of 105° between seat and back and the back is at a 63° from the horizontal, both close to the type 6 angles.
|Le Corbusier was interested in the
proportions in the
human body, a question that was aroused before him in classic times and
in the Renaissance.
Le Corbusier is more known for his buildings than for his contribution to modular theory and its applications. His Modulor is based upon a geometric series of numbers containing the number 226, considered the medium height of adult males reaching upwards. (he originally estimated this size 216 or 220 cm.)
|He then extended his research to the relation between his Modulor and furniture. This is the first time, as far as I know, that such a problem was even mentioned.|
|Le Corbusier also suggested in 1949 the application of his
to furniture and interior design. This is perhaps the first time that
met with modularity and design. (note 3)
Note also that he opted in this application for a grid that alternates a 16 cm. step and a 27 cm. step. Such grids are powerful instruments in the organization of complex spatial systems as architects and designers and engineers of industrial equipment know. Even on a smaller scale they can be used to achieve visual harmony as Bruno Munari pointed out in many of his splendid publications. (note 4) It is perhaps not casual that in the Renaissance architects studied musical harmony
site about modularity:
|note 1||Leonardo Da Vinci (1452-1519) took this drawing from
Architectura from the 1st.cent.aC; it was however published only in the
Vitruvius editions of 1511 and 1521. We can read this, and many other
Dan Pedoe, Geometry and the Liberal Arts, Penguin, 1976
|note 2||J.Ohara, Ergonomy in Architecture and Interior. (this is a japanese book on ergonomy, sorry but I have no further indication)|
|note 3||Le Corbusier, Le Modulor, 1949, german ed. 1953, Gotta, Stuttgart, p.67|
|note 4||for example in this booklet: Bruno Munari, Il Quadrato, Tschudy Verlag, St.Gallen, Switzerland|
|more about Le Corbusier|
|more on Vitruvius' man:
|back to the general analysis of Rietveld's red blue chair|
|back to the page on modules in Rietveld's red blue chair|
|back to the product overview page|
|mail: andries van onck|