The history of seating, the origin of which is as ambiguous as the origin of language, claims it’s beginning at least with the Egyptians some 3000 BC, where three different typologies of seating were initially created: the stool, the bench and the chair. Such objects primarily produced by carpenters and joiners, later refined in process by craftsman. In more recent times the contemporary approach designed by architects until we reach the moment where design is born as a profession.
It’s important to mention this whole process, especially when concerned with unconventional chairs. Here we speak of sitting objects that basically refute much of this historic process, making these supports always exquisite – remaining far from the normal standards of usability and avoiding the conventional categories created in the history of the seating.
The first object we approach is called the “bed of nails”, a plain wood surface of bed dimensions with nails pointing outwards and upwards. At first sight, anyone watching would think that someone lying on this “bed” would be injured by the nails, but this is not so. Assuming the nails are numerous enough, the weight is equally distributed between them in such a way that the pressing force of each nail is not enough to break the person’s skin. This feature gives the object rather peculiar utilities, of which two in particular stand out - firstly the use for magic tricks and peculiar physical demonstrations by Fakirs, who are wandering Muslim Dervishes of the Middle East and India. Secondly the use by Hindu holy men to show there perfected control of mind over body. The images shows “a man lying on a bed of nails”, one of the more familiar images of the Fakirs, partly owing to Herbert Ponting’s famous 1907 photograph of ‘a Fakir in Benares’ (Varanasi) India.