One of the joys of coffee or a sandwich in the cozy confines of LaSalle Market on Collinsville’s Main Street is the eclectic collection of chairs clustered at the many wooden tables. Customers sit in bow-back arm chairs, delicate bentwood and sturdy Mission designs, high-back dining room styles, stools of tubular metal, faux Windsors with delicate spindles, and modern types with fabric seats. Some look like they came straight from mom’s kitchen or a college dorm. I’ve counted at least a dozen different types.
Perhaps their variety helps draw the wonderfully eclectic clientele. “A setting that is full of chairs, all slightly different, immediately creates an atmosphere which supports rich experience,” wrote architecture professor Christopher Alexander. Chairs are an invitation. They make us feel welcome. Even the prickly Thoreau found space in his tiny Walden Pond hut for chairs—“one for solitude, two for friendship; three for society.”