The above chair was handmade by a tractor driver with whom I spent a morning riding along and interviewing. He crafted it himself, using scrap wood and metal he found around construction sites, shaping and combining it all together with his welding skills. A subject that appears to have continually caught the eye of the curious are China’s massive collection of improvised and roll-your-own seating options. I don’t usually do this here, but I’m always on the lookout for others documenting informal/resource-constrained creativity around the world, and its rare to strike such a rich vein; Instagram sports its own user (chinachairs), and designer Meng Yan occasionally hashtags chair-centric observations in The Middle Kingdom (#chinachairs).
However, I’d be remiss in not mentioning the founding father of informal Chinese sitting solutions, Michael Wolf, and his book, Sitting in China. You can also find plenty of compelling examples of China’s hacked-together seating solutions (or “bastard chairs”) and Hong Kong’s “informal seating solutions” on his website. Besides this, Wolf is a tenacious and insightful explorer of other fascinating elements of street-level Asia, from Shinjuku Station where Toyko’s “box men” reside, to capturing portraits of Hong Kong “microapartments” (long before they were cool) and their owners, to visually cataloging Hong Kong’s vibrant sidewalk-based pantheon.