Design Gratitude #1: The Cesca Chair
Also, a simple website, the philosophy of money and handmade art.
Hello friends! 👋
Adding something new to the rotation this week!
I’m calling this one ‘Design Gratitude’ and it’ll be my mid-week digest where I share my gratitude practice for good design and the designers who make it happen.
It’s simple and has two parts:
Design gratitude → A quick appreciation for something well crafted and well designed. Like a short public gratitude journal for good design.
Coffee break links → A couple of links to things inspiring me that week that you might wanna share during your digital coffee breaks. I work remotely full-time now and I miss the serendipity of a smart coworker showing me something cool over a coffee. I find I personally get a lot more energy and inspiration from things tangentially related to my work as a digital product designer and I hope you’ll get some inspiration from them too!
Design Gratitude 🙏
This week I’m grateful for the Cesca chair.
I’ve seen this kind of chair many times over the years, but didn’t know its official name until stumbling upon this video by Vox this past week. It’s a classic design that became popularized in the 1960s but has its roots decades earlier in the Bauhaus movement. I like its simple form and materials, how it blends natural wood with sleek, cold metal and how it’s sturdy despite looking weightless.
If we take a look at how it stacks up against Dieter Rams’ famed 10 principles, I think the Cesca does a particularly good job at numbers #3 (good design is aesthetic) and #5 (good design is unobtrusive). How do you impart some level of beauty to daily activity while being both neutral and restrained? It’s not an easy balance to find with something as mundane as a basic chair, but the Cesca seems to have gracefully incorporated both.
Considering the Cesca in terms of Raymond Loewy’s MAYA principle for products (“most advanced, yet acceptable”), I think I can see how it hit the sweet spot. It took a very advanced “floating” frame design and topped it off with a very familiar and acceptable seat and back position. Advanced, yet acceptable.
Have you come across the Cesca? What do you think of it? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter!
Coffee break links ☕️
https://nat.org/ - The site of former GitHub CEO and multi-time founder Nat Friedman.
This was floating around Twitter this past week. I thought it was cool how Nat puts his beliefs and values front and center. I also love how folks who are masters of software and internet tech so often embrace its simplest forms. In this case, it’s what the internet was made for: sharing a simple, linked document.
Moneylike - An essay by Cory Doctorow
One of the more interesting pieces I’ve read exploring the sociological ties of currency and, in turn, cryptocurrency. Doctorow is a great writer and clearly a keen observer of society.
Pixelated Needlepoint Art - Elsa Hansen Oldham
I’ve been really inspired by hand-crafted stuff recently. Elsa’s work is cute, funny, meticulous, and pixelized despite being entirely handmade. It definitely made me happy when I found it. Hope it does the same for you! 😄
Signing off 🖖,
If you got a little value in this post, consider subscribing, sharing, or following me on Twitter. If you got a lot of value I’d appreciate it if you bought me a coffee 😎☕️.