Century 21 Exposition

Living in the Space Age

The 1962 Seattle World’s Fair was attended by over ten million people and was a revitalizing force for the economic and cultural landscape of the city, spurring numerous public and private building projects that enriched Seattle beyond the scope of the exposition. The undertakings included beautifying the waterfront, completing Interstate 5 and the Monorail, adding pavilions, theaters, art exhibitions, science centers, an opera house and, most notably, the Space Needle, which became the symbol of not just the fair, but of America’s optimism toward and aspirations for its future. In an era of the “space race,” and the spread of Communism abroad, Americans looked to civic achievements such as the Seattle World’s Fair and emblems like the Space Needle to reaffirm and champion their values to both themselves and the world.

The current lot is a chair designed for the observation deck of the Space Needle (another chair, similar to the Recorder’s chair and Kramer’s iconic Ion chair was designed for the on-site restaurant). Unique in its design is its ability to “orbit” about its base, allowing visitors a dynamic view of the city. The design was later adapted to a static model and used in offices, an environment where many “space age” designs were beginning to become common, representing progress, technology and the ambitious American spirit of the era.

The dining room at the Space Needle, 1962