I am fascinated by the idea of the renaissance man. The kind of person who can do anything. Michaelangelo, who started of as a painter but branched into architecture, sculpture, poetry and architecture. Leonardo Da Vinci, the painter of the worlds most famous painting, the Mona Lisa, was sought after as a war strategist, designer of things ahead of his time like parachutes, diving boats and explosive devices, to name but a few.
In our time with major technological advances on every front it is difficult to be the best in your own field, let alone other fields of expertise. It is hart warming to still find such people. In architects I found some modern renaissance men. Especially in the field of furniture design.
Chairs is one of the most essential of household and interior decorating furniture. The end of the nineteenth century saw a big change in how people saw their surroundings. Changes in social structure caused people to discover their own worth and allowed people of all social levels to surround themselves with beautiful things. The industrial revolution with mass production made costs of many products come down. New technology made designs possible that were previously not even draemt of. All this caused an explosion of design in chairs.
The first development in chair design came from the father of the Arts and Crafts movement, William Morris. Morris was a designer, artist, poet and novelist. His life motto was that one should surround yourself with objects that is both useful and beautiful. The arts and Crafts movement emphasized the use of handcraft and material of high quality.