Hot or Not? The Papasan Chair Reconsidered

Hot or Not? The Papasan Chair Reconsidered

Keehnan Konyha
Dec 10, 2008

Pity the Papasan. The maligned chair had a moment, once. Really, over a decade-long stretch; yet now you can barely give one away (we see at least one on the street weekly). A quick perusal of Craigslist New York brings up about forty of the chairs, all posted within the last two weeks, almost all under $50. As our friend Chelsea put put it, they are "the Stair Master of furniture".

Not that it requires an introduction, but according to Pier 1 Imports, the company that initially imported the chairs from the Philippines, "The Papasan Chair, also known as a dish or moon chair, is a perennially popular choice for those furnishing their first dorm rooms, apartments and other spaces. This chair features a sturdy rattan frame that sits atop a durable base and a removable decorative cushion. Papasan Chairs have been a favorite for so many years because they are extremely comfortable, making them a great place to hang out while watching TV, reading, gaming or talking to friends."

This photo from Domino, while we're not crazy about the interior, illustrates that the Papasan can be worked into more modern environments

We're not arguing for any kind of papasan renaissance here, but wondering if perhaps, in the right context, these chairs could be aesthetically salvaged. There is something McGuire-ish about all that caning. We're picturing a pair with simple, white cushions (no prints; the chair is busy enough on its own, without the aid of a pattern.) in a spare but layered space. White floors, lots of books, not too much color, paired with other classic pieces, like Thonet bentwood chairs. We could even be sold on painting the wood itself, as Truman Capote did here.

What do you think? Is the chair worth revisiting? Can it be saved from it's shag-carpeted, dorm room past?

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