The crescent-backed armchair’s enduring appeal
Few of us realize that the crescent-backed armchair originated in China between 907 and 960 AD, the period before the fall of the Tang and the rise of Song dynasties. It followed in the spirit of the crescent-shaped Tang stool and the classic cross-legged Chinese folding chair.
The fascination with the design lies its timeless appeal. Ancient Chinese embraced the power of the square and circle, the yin-yang concept of complementary opposites. This simple seat embodies this philosophy with its square seat and half-moon back. It is believed that sitting on such a structure helps to energize us and imbue our space with heaven’s yang and earth’s yin forces.
Lifetimes ago, Chinese found that placing these chairs in pairs achieves the most satisfying arrangement. The subtle dynamism formed between the design’s contrasting shapes and planes brings a quiet grandeur to fireplaces, posh hotels and restaurants, conference rooms and a myriad of other settings.
Furniture designers have remained inspired by its aesthetics, with variations from France’s Louis XVI, vintage Windsor and Danish Hans Wegner in the 1950s. Its details are constantly re-imagined by contemporary design houses like Roche Bobois, Kartell Joe, McGuire, Christopher Guy and Mint Alban.