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Story Publication logo January 9, 2014

Pentecostalism: In Praise of the White Plastic Chair


Atlas of Pentecostalism

An interactive visual guide to the world's most rapidly growing religious movement.

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Multiple Authors

If there is one design icon that unites the expanding network of stylistically diverse Pentecostal churches globally, it is a humble piece of pure, simple furniture. Comfortable, cheap, and easy to clean, the White Plastic Chair (WPC) has proven to be an essential problem-solver in thousands of Pentecostal churches.

Growing at an unprecedented rate in countries as diverse as Korea, Nigeria, Guatemala, Brazil and South Africa, the Pentecostal movement is facing the challenge to provide seating to hundreds of thousands of additional believers each year. While wooden benches look poor and are heavy to move and rough on the skin, the WPC is providing easy storage, a variety of models within aesthetic unity and, most importantly, comfortable seating to millions of people.

Miraculously cheap, the WPC radiates optimism and pleasure by bringing back memories of yard sales, barbecues and holidays. Its white color refers to purity, cleanliness, and the white dove—important themes in Pentecostalism.

Rarely discussed, this mundane design item deserves praise and respect for serving the needs of many.


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