All interior designers, architects and industrial designers are obsessed with chairs. They are the hardest furniture piece to design and manufacturer due to the varying shape of people’s form. There are chair designs that have shaped design history and are still being produced, copied and inspired by today. Here is a list of my favourites.
12: Arm Chair by Warren Platner
American designer Warren Platner saw that modernism was becoming more expressive in the 1960s and started to think about what a chair really is. “I thought why separate support from the object. Just make it all one thing. Starts at the floor and comes up and envelops me, supports me.” I love how graceful and gentle this chair is. You really don’t need to add much art in the room because the chairs are so decorative themselves.
Investment for a genuine chair: Starting from $5,200
11: B9 Armchair by Michael Thonet
The B9 armchair is one of the most lasting designs in furniture history due to its strong but lightweight design that is stable and comfortable. I love the gentle curves and warmth of the wood. It lacks pretension of other dining chairs and has a relaxed, inviting vibe.
Investment for a genuine chair: Starting from $219 (bargain)
10: No. 14 Chair by Michael Thonet
The No. 14 chair is the most famous chair made by the Thonet chair company. Also known as the bistro chair, it was designed by Michael Thonet and introduced in 1859. It is made using a unique steam-bending technology, known as bentwood, that required years to perfect. With its affordable price and simple design, it became one of the best-selling chairs ever made. Some 50 million No. 14s were sold between 1859 and 1930, and millions more have been sold since. I love how flexible they are – a feature side chair looks so beautiful, having them as dining chairs and even mixing and matching works!
Investment for a genuine chair: Starting from $139 (another bargain)
9: Egg Chair by Arne Jacobsen
Arne Jacobsen is a famous Danish architect and designer that has designed some of the world’s most famous chairs including his 1958 Egg chair. I love how inviting it is and that it can be the perfect feature chair near a fireplace or in a reading corner.
Investment for a genuine chair: Starting from $19,000
8: Barcelona Chair by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
The Barcelona chair is a chair designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (famous German-American architect) and Lilly Reich (a German modernist designer). It was originally designed for the German Pavilion at the International Exposition of 1929, which was hosted by Barcelona, Spain – hence the name. The Barcelona Chair exudes a simple elegance that epitomizes Mies van der Rohe’s most famous maxim–“less is more.” I love how it’s simplicity can work in a contemporary environment as well as a detailed, embellished one.
Investment for a genuine chair: $9,000 approximately
7: Eames Aluminium Chair by Charles & Ray Eames
This chair was originally commissioned to be an outdoor chair but ended up being so popular that it has been produced in varying indoor chairs as well such as office chairs, boardroom chairs, lounge chairs and dining chairs. Ray and Charles Eames constructed their chairs with cast aluminium and a seat frame that would support a stretched synthetic mesh. Leather and fabric options were eventually added due to the popularity of indoor use. For me, this is the ultimate desk chair. It’s extremely hard to find a comfortable, beautiful desk chair on wheels that supports your back. What would we have done without Ray and Charles Eames!
Investment for a genuine chair: $3,730
6: Moulded Plywood Chair by Charles & Ray Eames
Hailed by Time Magazine as the Best Design of the 20th Century, this iconic chair was designed in the 1940s by the American husband and wife team Ray and Charles Eames. They began experimenting in their apartment by moulding plywood which had never been done before. This experiment would end up having a profound effect on the world of design. Their discoveries led to a commission from the US Navy to develop plywood splints, stretchers and glider shells, moulded under heat and pressure, that were used successfully in World War II.
I love the warmth and sophistication this chair provides. This chair always makes me want to have a Sunday afternoon relaxing drink in it.
Investment for a genuine chair: $1,995
5: LC4 by Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret & Charlotte Perriand
The LC4 chaise longue was designed in 1928 and was a product of the collaboration between Le Corbusier (famous Swiss architect), Charlotte Perriand (French Interior Designer) and Le Corbusier’s cousin, Pierre Jeanneret.With its shape, sculpted to fit the curvatures of the human body, the LC4 embodies Le Corbusier’s philosophy of perceiving furniture as “extensions of our limbs and adapted to human functions.” If you need a statement piece, this is the one for you!
Investment for a genuine chaise lounge: $11,159
4: Flag Halyard Chair by Hans J. Wegner
In 1950, Hans J Wegner designed this chair by sitting in sand on the beach and experimenting with different positions. He found a position that allowed him to recline while maintaining an unobstructed view of his surroundings. It was a new way for a chair to hold someone. He then sketched out the chair and developed the form for the Flag Halyard Chair. The unique form, the textured rope and the tubular steel make it an iconic chair that is widely recognised today. I love it’s a statement piece but also blends into a room so elegantly at the same time.
Investment for a genuine chair: $13,800
3: The Wassily Chair by Marcel Breuer
The Wassily Chair was designed by Hungarian designer Marcel Breuer in 1926 while he was the head of the cabinet-making workshop at the Bauhaus in Germany. This chair was inspired by his own bicycle – particular the strength of its tubular steel. This chair has the ability to make any space look architectural and can work in commercial and residential settings which is rare.
Investment for a genuine chair: $4,000 approximately
2: Wishbone Chair by Hans J. Wegner
This is easily my favourite dining chair. If in doubt, go the Wishbone chair in a blonde or black timber.
Hans Wegner designed hundreds of chairs in his lifetime and the Wishbone would have to be one of his most famous. He designed it in 1949 and has been in production ever since. I love the beautiful craftsmanship, the elegant arms and the natural cord seat. This chair can make any space look a million bucks!
Investment for a genuine chair: approximately $700
1: Eames Lounge Chair & Ottoman by Charles & Ray Eames
The Eames lounge chair was designed in 1956 by husband-and-wife American team Charles and Ray Eames and is the most recognisable armchair in the world. The creative couple wanted to make a chair that ‘fits like a glove’ and they certainly achieved that. The Eames Lounge now epitomizes sexy mid-century executive style and comfort. I love how you can put this chair in any room with any style and it somehow just works. It’s extremely hard to design a piece that is so visually attractive and extremely comfortable but that is what the Eames’ are so well known for.
Investment for a genuine chair and ottoman: $9,810
So there you have it. A list of my favourites. I would love to hear your favourite iconic chair designs by commenting below.
Michelle Khadye xoxo
Posted September 2019