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The United States of Design

Pop Quiz: Who Made Which Chair?

By Cliff Kuang

Other cultures have mocked American design, but they're not innocent.

The world laughs at American design? Well, "ha" back at 'em. Designers often see chairs as a signature avenue for expression, which make these seats the perfect global stereotypes. Take a guess at which culture made what. Hints abound and answers are below.

1. England The island still can't forget its heady days of empire and plunder.


2. The Netherlands In high-concept bizarro-land, there's almost a fetish for all things "natural."


3. France Designs are often so conceptual that they're unrecognizable. Ce n'est pas une chair.


4. Germany A love of rationality and right angles never dies, even at comfort's expense.


5. Italy Silvio Berlusconi's country has, shall we say, some issues with objectifying females.


England: C (Soft Hercules, by FAT); The Netherlands: A (Tree-Trunk Bench, by Jurgen Bey); France: E (WW Stool, by Philippe Starck); Germany: B (Landen Public Seating, by Konstantin Grcic); Italy: d (Nemo chair, by Fabio Novembre)

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A version of this article appeared in the October 2011 issue of Fast Company magazine.