The Shakers…| Elías Cueto

In the middle of the 18th century and Ann Lees’s slant, the Shakers are constituted by the first time as a Protestant community split of the Quákeros. The essential beginning of this group is the celibacy, the equality between sexes, the community of goods and the confession. To measured of the 19th century they are the most widespread Utopian community of the world though at present only a group is kept faithful to the original beginning in Sabbathday Lake’s city in Maine, the USA.

The Shakers 01

Besides an interesting example of Utopian community, the Shakers are a modal in the construction of furniture of wood and certainly of chairs. The chairs of the Shakers do not stand out for his comfort or for his formal originality and in general they are similar to the furniture produced in his moment. The contribution of the Shakers is in a perfect execution and design of the handcrafted work of the wood. A work that has religious connotations being lived as way and community of personal perfection.

The Shakers 02

A brilliant example of handcrafted design is the crossing of three wood of the traditional table of office Shaker. A complex emptied of the wood allows that these should cross in a point and that the own weight of the board closes the structure. The design of the union and the work of his execution remain secret when the assembly is completed.


The Shakers included in his chairs solutions so refined as the system of continuous support of back legs. By means of an emptying of the ends of the above mentioned legs, there was lodging a semispherical button that like kneecap turns inside the leg guaranteeing the support of the same one when the chair inclines. By means of a perforation in the leg there is tightened the cord of leather that ties the button to the leg allowing the movement of the button without this one becomes detached on having raised the chair.

 The Shakers 04

Though the communities Shaker there is the low one throughout last century, the influence in the design of furniture has not stopped growing to the being reivinicada for the first generation of Danish contemporary designers. Jare Klint’s work turns out to be specially evident in case of the design of chair of church of 1936.

There is interesting likewise the intepretación of the traditional chair made Shaker some years later-1944-for Børge Mogensen across the J39. This piece gathers the system of transoms to different height for fixation of the plaited one of the seat and is fundamental to understand the whole series of later designs realized by Hans J. Wegener.

Elías Cueto, architect
Santiago de Compostela, october 2010

Published in  Nº 313 [sillas…]

Elías Cueto
Elías Cueto Author

Es arquitecto técnico superior de urbanismo por la EGAP, doctor en historia de la arquitectura por la ETSAC y especialista en diseño de mobiliario por THK (Alemania. En 2015 recibió el V Premio Domingo Fontán de investigación histórica y es autor de dos monografías sobre historia moderna y diseño. Ha trabajado como diseñador para diferentes firmas y ha colaborados con dos Premios Nacionales de Arquitectura. Actualmente colabora con la industria de la madera en el ámbito del desarrollo de productos y la mejora e industrialización de procesos.

Filed under: captures, diseño, Xosé Suárez - Elías Cueto

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