From Cliche To Archetype

From Cliche To Archetype

In the middle of the 20th century, many people first got to know FRP by the seat of their pants.  Molded fiberglass chairs quickly became staples of schools, waiting rooms, and many people’s homes.  There were several prominent designs, none of them especially comfortable, but they were affordable and durable, so they became ubiquitous.

“Souviens toi que tu vas mourir” (Remember that you will die) by French design studio Pool, is a witty update of a somewhat prosaic original.  The apparently immortal chair has been transformed into the symbol of Grim Reaper himself, grinningly inviting you to relax into the arms of death.

This humorous gesture actually marks the completion of a type of cultural cycle.  It was described by Marshall McLuhan back around the time this chair was first designed.  He suggested that an object or idea starts off in the avant garde, then becomes mainstream, then a cliché, whereupon it is thrown in the cultural trash-can, and then it re-emerges as an archetype.

The chair having come full cycle suggests, perhaps, that FRP has grown up.

Photographs are by Benjamin Le Du via