Quick History: The Acapulco Chair
In the 1950s and ’60s, Acapulco became a hot destination for the jet set. Airline ads and other images from the time depict a glamorous, fun beachy town in full technicolor. The rat pack vacationed there, Liz Taylor got married (again) there, Jackie and John Kennedy honeymooned there. And at some point during that era, someone designed the Acapulco chair.
Legend has it that a French tourist was visiting Acapulco in the ’50s and was uncomfortably hot atop a solidly-constructed chair in the Mexico sunshine. Inspired by the open string construction of traditional Mayan hammocks nearby, he designed a chair fit for the modern tropics.
Whether or not this is true — who was that mysterious visionary Frenchman? — the Acapulco chair was first produced in the ’50s, and quickly became popular in Mexico. Usually made of vinyl cords on a metal, slightly pear-shaped frame, the Acapulco chair has most commonly been used as outdoor lounge seating, in bright, tropical colors.
Lately, designers have been producing some variations on the Acapulco theme — round versions, leather versions, Mobius strip loveseat versions, etc. In all its iterations, the Acapulco chair shows its roots in folk design, modernism and tropical Hollywood glamour.