If you live in a small space, you know that hosting guests can be a pain. Apartments have weird layouts, old homes have walls in strange places, and dedicated dining spaces are a vanishing commodity. Things get even more complicated when it comes time for everyone to eat a meal. Even if you have a good-size dining room table, the issue of what to seat them on can still loom large.
Enter the Plia chair. Designed in 1967 by Giancarlo Piretti, the sleek, modernist chair has become a cult favorite for both aesthetic and practical reasons. It is, firstly, gorgeous — all sleek chrome lines and a colorful acrylic seat. Available in chic colors like smoky pink and black fumé, it’s nice enough to leave out year-round but also easy to store away in a closet thanks to its nifty three-disk pivot hinge, which allows the chair to fold perfectly flat.
Sue S. Chan, the founder of the New York-based event production company Care of Chan, swears by the Plia. Chan has planned events all over the city, for chefs like Natasha Pickowicz and J.J. Johnson. When she’s dealing with a tight space, this chair is her go-to. “I love chic, simple, yet versatile furniture for my events that is easy to stow away,” Chan says. “[The chair] can be dressed up and dressed down. It’s not the cheapest, but worth every penny.”
For those of us on a tighter budget, though, the Plia, which costs about $300, has plenty of (more affordable) imitators. Online purveyor Cozoni offers a very similar chair called the Tuffy for less than $200. There’s even an Amazon option with surprisingly good reviews for around $50. Or if you’re dead set on the real thing, scope out Facebook Marketplace and eBay to find the Plia used. (But as with many things in the vintage market, ’70s and ’80s Plias often sell for more than a brand-new chair.)
And sure, you could just buy a bunch of cheap, wobbly folding chairs from Target and punish your dinner guests on those unforgiving metal seats all night long. But if you really want to throw a good party, invest in seating that people won’t dread subjecting their butts to.