Mérida is known for its rich history in Maya culture and tradition. It was built on the ruins of the ancient Mayan city of Ichcanzihó and founded by Francisco Montejo in 1542.
Today Merida is a cosmopolitan city and has distinguished itself from other destinations in Mexico due to its high quality of life and safety. It is also distinguished by its street furniture, which includes a unique piece: the “tú y yo” chairs or “sillas confidentes”.
These chairs are found throughout Mérida. They are connected by their handles on opposite sides, so when you sit down you face the other person. Painted white, they are often used by lovers, friends or people who share an interpersonal relationship.
Undoubtedly, the confidant chairs have become part of Yucatán’s culture and identity. They can be seen mainly in the Plaza Grande. They were installed there in 1915 during its remodeling.
What is the true origin, the legend behind this particular piece?
It is not known for certain why the “you and me” chairs were installed in Mérida. What is known is that they were inspired by the tête-à-tête or vis-à-vis model, which was a favorite of the 19th century.
The serpentine, S-shaped form of this chair encourages two people to face each other and engage in conversation. Designed in the 19th century, the tête-à-tête, besides being ideal for conversation, allowed couples to look at each other without touching.
Over the centuries, this piece has taken different twists and inspired many to make their own interpretations. In fact, even Salvador Dalí made a surrealist version of the confidant chairs.
In Mérida, it is likely that their installation was stimulated by the Frenchified fashion that dominated the city at the beginning of the 20th century. A concrete example of this trend are the large mansions that were built on Paseo Montejo, during the great economic boom that developed in the region, thanks to the henequen boom.
Love legend or reality?
Beyond the fashions, in Mérida the origin of these chairs is not very clear. Therefore, their appearance is the protagonist of different stories. The most popular is related to a story of jealousy and love.
Legend has it that there was once a very overprotective father in Merida. He had a daughter who was beginning to see a young man in love. The father, very wealthy and jealous, would only let the young people meet in the park.
However, so that there would be no physical contact between them, he came up with the idea of installing these chairs facing each other.
Legend or reality, the truth is that nowadays, these chairs can be seen in different parts of the city and have become an icon of Mérida.
New version of the confident chair in Santa Lucia
Finally, just like the giant “Mérida” letters that you can see in several Mexican cities, the famous “sillas confidentes” have tripled in size and in Santa Lucía Park you can enjoy them in their colossal version.