An in-depth special focus on Asian real estate hot spots, as well as key interviews with important industry figures and analysis
Analysis: Home design: Seat of power
May 16, 2012
Many times I have nervously walked into the offices of CEOs and major executives for first time meetings. Sometimes there is a dazzling expensive view from an office on a high floor, but I often find, for being so fancy, their offices are usually drab and predictable. I continue to be hugely underwhelmed.
Prestigious names, positions and reputations are compromised when one is seen hunched over a common desk and sitting in a plain office chair. That chair should be a power chair, yet it is usually black; sometimes brown. Almost always it is cheap leather or worse yet, vinyl on wheels.
Historically we could always see who was an important person because they actually had a chair when most folks sat on the ground. Often these seats were simple, but when they were the chairs of great rulers, they became thrones. The official seat of great power. Think back and imagine the infamous thrones of fierce rulers through the centuries.
While Europeans have focused on the literal chair and making it as grand as possible, Asians have focused on the presentation and incasing of the ruler rather than just the chair. Russians Ivan the Terrible’s Ivory Throne and Queen Christina’s Silver Throne are two of my favorites. What a contrast of character compared to the seat from which they chose to rule. Ivan is important for conquering Russia’s billion acres, unifying government and being the first crowned Czar of Russia, but he is more often known for his erratic nature and bad temper (which lead him to beat his heir to death).
He chose a white throne intricately carved from fragile ivory; something so impressive and unusual. Beastly yet delicate. Christina was stuck to the crown of Sweden at a young age. She was sophisticated and smart but a rebel. She refused to marry, plundered her lands to support her love of the arts and eventually eradicated the thrown and converted to Catholicism. She spent the second part of her life exiled in Rome protecting great artists. She is one of the few women buried in the Vatican. She sat upon a curvy and chic, subtly proportioned throne. It is refined, artistic and precious.
The Dragon Throne (China), Chrysanthemum Throne (Japan), Phoenix Throne (Korea) and Lion Throne of the Dalai Lama focus not so much on the seat as they do the scene around it. They all sit on high levels with many steps holding the ruler high above there audience. Literal “High Powers” Some with grand carved screens or walls behind them. Bright colors, murals and curtains all used in different ways to create an entire scene out of the room to empower the mighty ruler. Not such a bad way to show your nation’s strength.
In this age our greatest rulers are the competitive executives of big business. I say why not carry the competition to office decor. A powerful person with a powerful job in a powerful company should place themselves atop a powerful throne. Employees and peers should be gazing on them with admiration, awe and yes, a little bit of fear.
Now look down at what you are sitting on and tell me, couldn’t you sacrifice ergonomic comfort for a hand made chair that shows everyone who’s boss?