It’s not every day that a contract chair becomes front-page news, but that’s exactly what happened last week when actor/director/Republican Clint Eastwood brought one with him for his appearance at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida. During his speech, Eastwood pretended to address an invisible President Obama seated next to him during a mock conversation that has confounded many pundits, delegates, and viewers across both party lines.
Photo courtesy Design Within Reach
Fans of design may have recognized the seat as part of the popular Baba Collection, designed in 1992 by the Italian architect/designer Sergio Mian. Manufactured in northern Italy, the chair is available to the contract market in United States through Atlanta-based Sandler Seating, and to consumers through the modern design retailer Design Within Reach (DWR). Rusty Wolf, the U.S. Director of Sales for Sandler Seating, says that while the barstool’s stage presence sparked "several hilarious comments from customers and friends," his company hasn’t seen a surge in orders just yet.
With a strong following since its introduction 20 years ago, the chair didn’t really need a boost (DWR website claims the chair "has become one of the most popular restaurant-quality seating designs in the world.") The mid-priced collection includes a side chair, armchair, and barstool version (Clint's choice), and is offered with a painted or chrome-plated tubular frame, conic legs, and a seat and back in natural beech, stained cherry, or wenge.