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Reviewing the Chairs of Te Aro Campus

From an ex-design student, Kate Seager (she/her)

One of my fondest memories of university was when, in a state of delirium, some design school friends and I tested every single chair in the Te Aro campus atrium. I’m not talking about the teeny tiny two thousand dollar miniatures lining the library’s glass cabinets. No. In a shockingly designed building the thrifted, human size, couches and various lazy boys are easily the best part of campus. So, without further ado, I present this: the only review necessary to get you through design or architecture school.

The Wicker Loveseat

Oh boy, we’re off to a good start. I spied this beauty across the foyer immediately. Maybe it was my bias towards wicker chairs. Maybe it was the Mamma Mia soundtrack blasting through my Airpods. Maybe it was the ice cream in my hand. If it weren’t for the concrete pillars, I could be seaside on a Greek island. Despite the fraying cushions, this chair left me feeling both satisfied and far too relaxed to be on campus. If only I had a lover to make the most of the chair’s namesake… but hey, at least I had plenty of space to dump my shit.

Big Blue Armchair

First impressions of the big blue armchair were strong. However after spending ten minutes rearranging the cushions (I’m not kidding) I realised choosing this chair was a mistake. What started as a bear hug-esque experience turned into a wibbly wobbly disaster. The seat was soft yet stiff. It had uneven legs. And I desperately wanted to throw the pillows across the room. The small wicker side table was the only positive aspect. She was not only swag but perfect for storing an iPad, pencils, ink pens, camera, easel, the entire Adobe suite, etcetera, etcetera.

Lime Green Three-Seater Sofa

Did I feel obnoxious taking up the entire couch? Not one bit. Reclining on this glorious piece of furniture was comparative to Spotify playing the song you didn’t know you wanted to hear. Which actually happened the moment I sat down. Listening to Spacey Jane while the soft, suede-like fabric caressed my body was the highlight of my day. Need I say more?

Red Spinny Chair

There is nothing that brings me more joy than a chair that allows me to sit criss-cross applesauce like a child at mat time. If you also happen to be a fan of spinny chairs, the red one has the best of both worlds. The surface area of the seat and the proximity with other furniture meant I could indulge in a

leg free spin. All I had to do was push off the aforementioned lime green sofa with my hand and enjoy the ride. Not the best chair, but certainly not the worst. Highly recommend. What a treat.

Brown Woollen One-Seater

If you find yourself in dire need of a hug between lectures, the brown woollen one-seater provides just that. The university was onto something with this chair because there’s not one, but two! And(!) a double seater(!!). Despite its comfort, the chair did have one fatal flaw. Wool. Not soft lambswool, but the type of wool that I can only imagine a grizzly old ram (Massey University’s mascot) was all too happy to have shaved off his back. Such a shame for an otherwise superb seat.

The Broken One

I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone willingly sit in this chair. Why would you? It’s missing an armrest. The bottom is about to fall through. In all honesty, I didn’t think this chair was worth my time. Until I sat down. The cushion immediately moulded to my derriere, the backrest reclined to perfection, and the broken armrest didn’t go amiss—in fact, it made the seat better. Gasp. Not only did it provide me with comfort, this chair taught me the biggest lesson I took away from my three years of study: sometimes it’s okay to show your flaws. Sometimes you may feel like a pillow tossed to the side, unwanted and on the verge of falling apart. But to those who matter, you, despite your frayed edges, are a welcome part to every room. If that’s not the inspiration you need to get through a three hour tutorial, then I don’t know what is.


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