Chair Anatomy Design and Construction

James Orrom

A unique resource for students, professionals, and the design- obsessed, that reveals how the iconic chairs of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries have been designed for mass production


From offices to dining tables, lounging to working, chairs are ubiquitous pieces of design.

Designers and architects, whose work revolves around space, comfort, and function, have grappled with making the perfect—or most unusual—chairs for centuries. Most chairs, however, are not one- offs but are manufactured in large quantities, to be shipped around the world, displayed, and marketed. We only really see the end product and rarely know how our chair has come into being.

Through the painstaking work of deconstructing and reducing chairs to their constituent parts, Chair Anatomy gets to the heart of more than fifty iconic designs: how pieces were designed and produced to fit together; why a certain material imparts a certain quality, functional advance, or comfort level; how the chair’s structure can withstand stress while being elegant and economical to produce.

Offering a truly nuts- and- bolts perspective on masterpieces of design, Chair Anatomy gives insight into a piece of furniture that we so often take for granted.


The book is geared toward students, professionals and those who are simply obsessed with design.

— Business of Home


James Orrom


James Orrom was professor for product and furniture design at the Rosenheim University of Applied Sciences in Germany from 2003 to 2019. He cofounded Umlauf & Orrom Studio for Industrial Design in 1987, producing furniture, film equipment, porcelain, glassware, and other products for such international clients as BMW, Siemens, and Villeroy & Boch.