How to design a chair that can survive an 8-story fall


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Or, you could come at the brief like this:


I’m just starting Werner Herzog’s “Lo and Behold” documentary about the Internet. The tour guy for the first Internet router, the IMP, walks up to the original, which ran for decades, and pounds on the side as hard as he can. It was mil-spec, designed to take a terrible beating and keep running.

Most consumer products get lighter and less mil-spec every year.


When GM was downsizing in the 80s, the plant I interned in was getting rid of a lot of surplus equipment. There was a room on the third floor half full of these chairs; if I could, I would have bought several.


Chairs that can do stunts with you sitting on them:


I’m guessing that one of the top stories from the history of the royal college of interior design is to convert some ugly item for general purpose use…

in other nostrils I used to live with a guy from my school days that worked for hille making early designer chairs who’s neibour was stones man mike and his girl marianne


So Martin-Baker have delivered “over 70,000” ejection seats.

The “lives saved” counter on their website is currently (as I type this) at 7,567.

So roughly 1 in 10 ejection seats they have sold has been used.

And then there’s the Martin-Baker Tie Club…


And how to rest on the mere threat of a lawsuit, when an actual challenge in court would likely go against you. Gregg, the Emeco guy, is pretty high and mighty for someone who makes a simple $500 aluminum chair.


Dropping things from a high perch is one activity that typically requires too much logistics to be done safely for most people. Might make a good business for thrill seeking millenniali who missed the watermelon drops that were a tv staple a couple of decades ago.


They are very good chairs.


These are great chairs. It’s not hype. They are surprisingly comfortable and nigh-indestructible. And they’ve been around long enough to be findable at flea markets, etc. I don’t know that I’d pay 500 bucks for one, but I’m happy with the one I bought for 20 bucks in the early 80s.


also, it is a cross-promotion episode with Benjamen Walker’s Theory of Everything, which is another very good podcast


Is that like Irvin’s Caterpillar Club?


Yeah. We live in a world of crap that lasts years instead of becoming heirlooms. Furniture that isn’t worth reapolstering, fiberboard tables, crappy tools where you used to get a lifetime replacement guarantee.

Lawns that no one gets off of.


From Wikipedia:

It was originally designed for the US Navy, which needed a chair for the deck of battleships that could survive sea air and a torpedo blast to the side of the ship.[1][5]

So, would someone explain why the chair would need to withstand a torpedo blast, I mean like, “Well the ship sank and the crew is dead, but at least we can reuse these chairs!”


Doesn’t the oxide layer on the aluminum leave a black mark on your pants.


i listened to this episode last night. really interesting, as all 99% Invis podcasts are. love the part at the end discussing the inherent conflict in designer chairs like this one – they are designed for mass-production, but priced out of reach of most people.


I picked up a second hand anglepoise lamp for about £10 when I was at uni, it needed a new cord, and it’s in a genuine shade of institutional vomit green, but it was cheap and it works.
Recently I found out a friend of mine had spent upwards of £80 on one. The ‘genuine’ ones are £160(!) on their website and they have the switch in the cord, not on the top like mine (so much for being the “original design”).
Thanks, but I’ll stick to my vomit green one.


Because you don’t want people who might be able to evacuate disabled by exploding chair pieces.


…a much younger Red Fury used to indulge in late at night, after breaking and entering, with some other idiot friends. Our favorite was giant steamed sweet potatoes that would practically aerosolize on impact, leaving a fluorescent orange splat stain on the contrasting black asphalt. Other groups like to throw desk chairs, but we thought that was anti-climactic.