Perhaps no other object of our daily environment has had the enduring cultural significance of the ever-present chair, unconsciously yet forcefully shaping the physical and social dimensions of our lives. This book, with over ninety illustrations, traces the history of the chair as we know it from its crudest beginnings up through the modern office variety. Drawing on anecdotes, literary references, and famous designs, Galen Cranz documents our ongoing love affair with the chair, and how its evolution has been governed not by a quest for comfort or practicality but by the designation of status.

Relating much of the modern era's rampant back pain to an increasingly sedentary lifestyle spent in conventional seating, Cranz goes beyond traditional ergonomic theory to formulate new design principles that challenge the way we think and live. A farsighted and innovative approach to our most intimate habitat, this book offers guidelines that will assist readers in choosing a chair—and designing a lifestyle—that truly suits our bodies.