ABChairs by Roeland Otten

While neat in theory, and fascinating in practice, some letters look to be a bit more comfortable than others – the A has nice back and angled form, the B is as basic a chair as it can bee, and the C makes for a simple curved stool. Even X, Y and Z are surprisingly functional, but some parts of the alphabet in between, well, they might be the last designs picked in class by discerning children.

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ABChairs by Roeland Otten EF

Dutch designer Roeland Otten made these concept pieces with kids in mind – a way to fundamentally integrate literacy into the physical furniture, a sort of subliminal and supplemental curriculum. The S and T, though, look like they would hurt any back pressed against them for long periods while other letters (like the P) seem too forced into their role. And is there not a risk of the ‘cool kids’ monopolizing the most prized chairs coveted by their classmates?

ABChairs by Roeland Otten home dornob

Perhaps another strategy would have been to let awkward letter shapes become the basis for other pieces of furniture. The set of all-black, glossy chairs is nice, but a few side tables, work desks and so forth would seem a good way to fit in the alphabetic odds and ends left over when the ideal chair candidates were exhausted.

ABChairs by Roeland Otten ST

Also, why the mix of capital and small letters? Seems like smalls might have been better all around. Finally, while these look great in black on a blank white backdrop, some color might help them stand out in a more colorful kids room or classroom space. Regardless, here are 10 other related designs if you are at least sold on the idea of physical real-life fonts.

ABChairs by Roeland Otten home

“ABChairs’ future is one of a industrial manufacturing process, using rotational moulding of LDPE plastic. This way ABChairs will be more affordable for the mass market, lighter in weight, less fragile and suitable for outdoors use. Smaller size ABChairs would also be applicable for children’s interiors, such as libraries and schools. Limited editions of prototypes can be produced upon request.”