See more objects with the tag furniture, upholstery, seating, orange.

Object Timeline

  • We acquired this object.

1967

  • Work on this object began.

2016

2017

2019

  • You found it!

Tongue Chair, 1967

This is a Chair. It is dated 1967. Its medium is tubular steel frame, rubber belts, foam rubber, nylon-jersey covering. It is a part of the Product Design and Decorative Arts department.

This curvaceous chair designed in 1967 by Pierre Paulin challenged the more formal aesthetics of the traditional seating form. Without legs, a single sculptural gesture makes up the back and low, deep-set seat. Forgoing the erect posture produced by the typical chair form, this model encourages the user to lounge and lay back into its curves. During the 1960s, conversation pits and low-slung furniture encouraged people to inhabit floor spaces in new ways. The chair’s innovation lies in the upholstery technique used to cover its undulating design. Amidst the sexual revolution of the 1960s, Paulin was supposedly inspired by the swimsuits worn by women on the Côte d’Azur, and wanted to re-create a bathing suit-like, tight stretchy effect for chair upholstery. Over a padding of polyurethane foam this chair is covered in a sleeve of elastic nylon stretch-jersey that fits snuggly and seamlessly around the chair’s curves and is fastened with a zipper on the underside. The upholstery therefore slips on as a piece of clothing. The chair enjoyed widespread publicity when it was chosen to decorate the French pavilion for the World’s Fair in Osaka in 1970, and as a result it is sometimes referred to as the “Osaka” chair. Paulin’s experiments with similar elastic fabric upholstery can be identified earlier, also in chairs made by Artifort including the “Mushroom” (1960) and the “Little Tulip” (1965). These designs celebrate Pop Art sensibilities in shape and color fit for the casual exuberance of 1960’s interior decoration.

This object was donated by George R. Kravis II. It is credited Gift of George R. Kravis II.

  • Triad Chair, 2006
  • gilt fiberglass.
  • Gift of Wendell Castle, Courtesy of Barry Friedman, Ltd..
  • 2008-27-1

Our curators have highlighted 2 objects that are related to this one.

  • Wiggle Stool, 1972
  • cut corregated cardboard, masonite.
  • The Linda and Irwin R. Berman Stool Collection.
  • 2008-32-3
  • Chair (USA), 1966
  • bronze-plated steel, nylon upholstery.
  • Gift of Knoll Associates, Inc..
  • 1971-16-1

Its dimensions are

H x W x D: 61.5 × 86 × 91 cm (24 3/16 × 33 7/8 × 35 13/16 in.)

Cite this object as

Tongue Chair, 1967; tubular steel frame, rubber belts, foam rubber, nylon-jersey covering; H x W x D: 61.5 × 86 × 91 cm (24 3/16 × 33 7/8 × 35 13/16 in.); Gift of George R. Kravis II; 2018-22-95

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibitions The Virtue in Vice and Energizing the Everyday: Gifts From the George R. Kravis II Collection.

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/420556915/ |title=Tongue Chair, 1967 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=23 October 2019 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>