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The Acapulco Chair

Possibly one of the best-known cases of anonymous Mexican design is the Acapulco chair. Also known as the Costera chair, the design’s authorship remains uncertain, though it is known that the chair first appeared in the eponymous city of Acapulco during the fifties. To this day, the Acapulco chair could be found on the patios of houses or at hotel terrace along the coast of the city.

Consensus around the design holds that the chair was inspired by the function of the hammock as it is suspended by two anchor points and is shaped like a catenary or a chain-curve, thus forming an ergonomic mould around the human body. The main difference with the hammock is the material and the movement of the Acapulco chair; this last is usually built with a half-inch round tube that make it a strong and resistant structure. Due to this innovative design, the chair has been popularized for both the comfort and aesthetic style it provides. The steel is usually painted and protected to help it avoid rusting, which indicates its context as a tropical design.

The concentric weaving of vinyl chords organized in a set of parallel lines makes the structure capable of supporting the body while maintaining its flexibility, a concept that possibly refers to techniques used by Mayan culture. Although the facts about the chair’s origins remain uncertain, it has since been reinterpreted in many ways by many designers who have manufactured the design with different materials and even altered its proportions to fit two or more people. The Acapulco chair is a traditional Mexican object that has garnered great popularity and global significance; it is a design that has transcended its geographic origins and has been associated with representations of cosmopolitanism and urban high-society.

Project name The Acapulco Chair
Period Circa 1950
Contributor N/A
Location Mexico