Saturday, March 12, 2005

Design icon of modern material culture

These items can be seen everywhere the world around. They first attracted my particular attention in photographs from Afghanistan. Dozens of people would be sitting on the ground, but these objects would be in use by people from elsewhere. They can be observed in photographs from Iraq. They have been noted in photographs from travel articles about China. They're made from "resin." "Plastic" is a word never to be seen where "resin" can be substituted. (In the same way "viscose" is apparently thought to be much more high-toned than Rayon or one of its analogues.) These articles of furniture are ubiquitous, also, in the movies, no matter what the location. The original was the Grosfillex Fidji (Fidji is the high-backed version, followed later by Miami, the low-backed one). Knockoffs are now everywhere. We use four of the genuine examples indoors, moving them from place to place as needed. They are very comfortable armchairs and nearly as good as cane-seated and -backed chairs for use in the worst of summer in this establishment without air-conditioning. Their light weight and ability to be stacked are attractive qualities also. As our old two-dollar plastic "Parsons" tables from Winn's meet with mishaps, we've been bringing in the Grosfillex "Miami" stacking tables also. Ideally, all furniture should be rollable or feather-weight, stackable, and capable of being cleaned by plain water straight from the garden hose. Upholstery has no place in this climate! For a while, at least, these products were available at AceMart restaurant supply. According to the Grosfillex FAQ, the commercial-grade versions are able to bear the weight of a 400-pound person. This French company has its USA operations based in Robesonia, Pennsylvania, in Berks County, the county famous for Lebanon bologna.


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