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The Iconic History of the Acapulco Chair – Part I

CEO Khai Intela
The Acapulco Chair: An Untold Story The Acapulco chair has long been a symbol of traditional Mexican design, but its rich history remains elusive to many. As the chair celebrates its 60th anniversary, we unveil...

The Acapulco Chair: An Untold Story

The Acapulco chair has long been a symbol of traditional Mexican design, but its rich history remains elusive to many. As the chair celebrates its 60th anniversary, we unveil the secrets that have taken this iconic piece of furniture from its Central American origins to every corner of the globe.

Modern chic decor with turquoise Acapulco chairs Modern chic decor with turquoise Acapulco chairs

Quick Facts:

  • What is Acapulco furniture?
  • Who designed the Acapulco chair?
  • When was it made?
  • How much do Acapulco chairs cost?
  • Where Can I Buy Acapulco Chairs?

These are just a few of the questions we'll answer as we embark on a journey that will uncover the roots, inspiration, and variations of the iconic Acapulco Chair from Mexico.

Acapulco, Mexico

Acapulco de Juarez, or simply Acapulco, is a beach city nestled on the southwestern coast of Guerrero, Mexico. Once a playground for Hollywood celebrities, Acapulco captured the hearts of icons like John Wayne, Liz Taylor, and even Jackie and John F. Kennedy on their honeymoon.

Known for its warm weather, beautiful beaches, and vibrant cultural traditions, Acapulco is a destination that deserves a spot on everyone's bucket list.

Mayan Derivatives

The design of Acapulco chairs can be traced back to ancient Mayan hammocks, which date back over a thousand years. The indigenous peoples of Central America crafted swing hammocks using tree bark and plant fibers. These suspended designs not only protected them from snakes and rodents but also provided insulation from the ground and kept pesky insects at bay.

Interestingly, the word "hammock" is derived from the Spanish word "homoca," coined by Spanish conquistadors. The Carib Indians, who wove fibers from hammock trees, used the term to describe their creation. "Homoca" translates to "bed-threads" in English.

Origination of the Nested Design

While the exact origins of the Acapulco chair may remain a mystery, we do know that it emerged in the 1950s. Legend has it that a French tourist, seeking respite from the scorching heat, designed the chair while lounging on a rooftop. Inspired by the stringed construction of traditional Mayan hammocks, the Acapulco chair was born.

Mexican Acapulco Chairs Outdoors Mexican Acapulco Chairs Outdoors

The Weave

Authentic Acapulco chairs feature a hand-woven design that mimics the intricate threading found on hanging hammocks. The vibrant colors, such as orange, red, yellow, green, and hot pink, add a fun and whimsical touch to these chairs. Some even boast multi-colored rainbow weaves, making them truly eye-catching.

Frames

The original Acapulco chairs were primarily made from steel. However, steel is not the ideal material for outdoor conditions due to its susceptibility to rust. Today, outdoor frames are made from commercial-grade aluminum, which is powder-coated to protect against rusting.

The Debate between Original and Replicated Acapulco’s

When it comes to Acapulco chairs, the debate between originals and replicas is a common one. While original chairs are rare and carry a hefty price tag, many are rusty due to exposure to coastal conditions. As such, modern replicas are often the preferred choice for buyers.

Modern Acapulco Chairs Modern Acapulco Chairs

The Price Tag

The cost of an Acapulco chair can vary, ranging from $200 for more affordable models to $500 for higher-end options. Some renowned manufacturers of Acapulco chairs include Harmonia Living, Mama Silla, Innit Designs, MoMA, and Insolito Home.

Stay Tuned!

Join us next week for the final installment of this captivating series as we delve into the debate between old and new Acapulco chairs.

Continue Reading the Acapulco Series:

  • The Iconic History of the Acapulco Chair - Part I
  • How It’s Made: Acapulco Chairs - Part II
  • Add Zest to Any Space with Acapulco Chairs - Part III
  • Spin Offs of the Acapulco Chair - Part IV
  • The Debate Between Original & Replica Acapulco Chairs - Part V

About the Author: Cheryl Khan is a social butterfly, design geek, and weekend tanner. She enjoys lounging outdoors on a chaise with a little shade and a good breeze. She can’t wait to get her hands on an Acapulco rocker chair!

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