The iconic Acapulco chair

In the 1950s and ’60s, Acapulco became a hot destination for the jet set. Airline ads and other images from the time depict a glamorous, fun beachy town in full technicolor. The rat pack vacationed there, Liz Taylor got married (again) there, Jackie and John Kennedy honeymooned there. And at some point during that era,someone designed the Acapulco chair.

Legend has it that a French tourist was visiting Acapulco in the ’50s and was uncomfortably hot atop a solidly-constructed chair in the Mexico sunshine. Inspired by the open string construction of traditional Mayan hammocks nearby, he designed a chair fit for the modern tropics.

Whether or not this is true — who was that mysterious visionary Frenchman? — the Acapulco chair was first produced in the ’50s, and quickly became popular in Mexico. Usually made of vinyl cords on a metal, slightly pear-shaped frame, the Acapulco chair has most commonly been used as outdoor lounge seating, in bright, tropical colors.

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Lately, designers have been producing some variations on the Acapulco theme — round versions, leather versions, Mobius strip loveseat versions, etc. Though created for outside use, it can make a statement peace in a room and give a unique 50’s style. My favourite one? This rocking turquoise one

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And the attraction for this iconic chair is still going strong. Strolling by the street in Mexico D.F. on week ends, you can bump into a street vendor selling some very good quality Acapulco chairs and attractive prices. The details you really have to pay attention to are the quality of the metal junction and paint. Since they are designed for outdoor use, you don’t want then to rust in a few weeks, and the quality of the PVC strings. Some vendors would even come to your house and present you an array of string colours and sizes to choose from.

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If you don’t live in Mexico, you can of course buy them online, there are a multitude of websites selling them and prices and quality vary greatly too, so choose wisely.

 

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