Buildings / bodies

Couchair | 1989

In a 1988 J.P. Morgan bank advertisement, a wealthy male client and solicitous female banker sit side by side, their bodies separated by a small pillow. This decorous barrier, placed to prevent a too-intimate proximity, illustrates some of the awkwardness that accompanied women’s rise to managerial positions. Couchair and Couchtable are hybrid furniture pieces that allow each person to occupy a personal space (as in a chair) while consulting documents side by side. They were conceived for the contemporary office environment based on the ubiquitous 5-foot by 5-foot office module, a space too restricted for working around a table. This project was part of an unrealized “Soft Seating” furniture series developed by Herman Miller.