Acapulco chairs add sculptural detail to any porch or patio

Cinco de Mayo is in the books, but we’re still celebrating with an homage to our favorite patio chair.

Christine Lennon  – May 5, 2021

At or near the top of the list of things we’re grateful to Mexico for—right up there with mezcal and barbacoa—is the Acapulco patio chair. Made out of an egg-shaped metal frame strung with narrow strips of material, like plastic, rope, or even leather, it’s an economical, lightweight, and airy seating option with a mid-century tropical vibe. At home on a beach deck or a city balcony, it’s versatile, affordable, and an easy way to add a hit of fun color.

No one is certain of its provenance. There’s a vague story about a French tourist visiting Mexico in the ’50s who tried his hand at applying Mayan hammock weaving to a chair frame to create a contemporary-feeling chair, right around the time when Acapulco emerged as a glamorous resort town. The Kennedys honeymooned there, and Elvis filmed one of his last campy musicals Fun in Acapulco there in the early sixties. (Spoiler alert: It isn’t very “woke,” but Ursula Andress is his co-star, and you get to see Elvis on a trapeze. Just watch on mute until he starts to sing.)

Regardless of whether the chair was “invented” there, or if the name is just evocative of glamorous mid-century Mexico vacations, Acapulco stuck. The style has been re-invented hundreds of times over the years, using basket-woven strips of fabric, or metal panels in place of the narrow strings. It’s also inspired a close cousin, the Condesa, which is more round than egg-shaped. The chair is so stylish and cheerful that we’re willing to overlook the uncomfortable strap marks it leaves on bare legs. That says it all.

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