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Stacking chairs - A Buyer's Guide

The idea of stacking chairs seems so intuitive that we take it for granted. Yet historically stacking chairs are very modern, both chronologically and stylistically. Robin Day's 1963 Polyprop chair gave stacking chairs the ubiquity they enjoy today and you have probably sat on one of Day's chairs in a school, cafeteria or community hall (see timeline below). Stacking chairs are a great space-saving innovation that affords seating on demand and a world without them would be cluttered and chaotic.

Our hard-wearing stacking chairs are suitable for schools, canteens and clubs as well as office use. Available in a variety of attractive colours, our versatile stacking chairs will maximise space available for layout seating while nesting neatly away in even the tightest corner or cupboard when not in use.

Paperstone stacking chairs come in a range of styles and finishes so you can be sure to find a good-looking, practical stacking chair from our extensive selection. We've a surprisingly wide range to suit all budgets. Entry level stackable chairs include cheap polypropylene chairs which are reminiscent of the sort you may have encountered at school. Posher slimline cantilever chairs have an altogether different look and are upholstered for comfort and ideal as meeting room or visitors chairs. Stackable beech chairs will suit those seeking a more "natural" aesthetic in their office, meeting place or educational establishment. Plastic and beech chairs without upholstery are suited for sanitary environments as they are easy to wipe down and clean. They are therefore perfect for hospital environments and cafeteria.

A stacking chair timeline

Some notable design events in the genealogy of the stacking chair:

  • 1926. Dutch architect Mart Stam makes first cantilever chair (i.e. a chair with no supporting back legs). Marcel Breuer also pioneered cantilever chairs in the 1920s.
  • 1938. Hans Coray's Landi chair. Designed for an exhibition after which it is named, this aluminium alloy chair had to be lightweight and stackable.
  • 1950-51. Ernest Race's Springbok and Antelope chairs were commissioned to furnish the outdoor terraces of the newly built Royal Festival Hall for the 1951 Festival of Britain. The Antelope chair went into commercial production after the festival.
  • 1955. Arne Jacobsen designed the Series 7 chair. It is a “Seven Chair” on which a nude Christine Keeler sits astride in that famous picture of her widely disseminated during the Profumo scandal.
  • 1959. The French Grosfillex Chair is widely believed to be the world's first mass market plastic chair.
  • 1967. Verner Panton's S Chair, Stacking Chair, or simply Panton Chair. This mass production design involved injection moulding a single piece of plastic.
  • 1963. Robin Day designs the seminal injection-moulded, polypropylene stacking shell chair, known simply as the Polyprop Chair. While initial outlay for manufacturing tools was high, the unit cost of each chair was very low and the Polyprop became one of the cheapest chairs on the market. It is one of the most successful chairs ever.
  • 1971. Rodney Kinsman's Omkstak chair.

Sources:
For a more detailed timeline of chair design over the last 100 years, have a look at Design Museum's A Century of Chairs.