There are certain pieces of furniture that have over time achieved iconic status. Over the decades they have been able to capture the imagination of the masses because of their design as well as their functionality. These pieces have a timeless quality, they are instantly recognizable and, I think, will never really go out of style.
While browsing the net I came across a book- 50 Chairs That Changed the World, by The Design Museum, a place I have been lucky enough to visit while I was in London. It got me thinking about what are my favorite chairs and so I had an excuse to come up with another one of my lists. So here goes… my picks for the top 10 chairs of the 20th and 21st century.
10. 1006 Navy Side Chair by Emeco
This light weight, corrosion-resistant chair made from Aluminum has been in production since 1944 and is an American classic. It has gained popularity with architects and designers the world over. Recently Emeco has also collaborated with Coca Cola to create 111 Navy, an almost identical chair using 111 plastic bottles.
1006 Navy Chair by Emeco
111 Navy Chair by Emeco
9. Egg-Chair by Arne Jacobsen
Designed in 1958 by Arne Jacobsen, the sensual curves of this design make it incredibly attractive and incredibly comfortable. Its design gives the user a sense of privacy and almost womb-like security owing to the design of its back which extends round the sides to provide a screening effect.
8. Ron Arad, Tom Vac Chair
When compared to some of the heavyweights on this list, this chair may seem like a bit of a minnow. However, it’s simple and ergonomic design has made this unpretentious chair a classic.
7. Chair 3107 by Arne Jacobsen
I think this chair is perfect in its simplicity. Designed in 1952, its elegant curves took the design world by storm.
6. Scandia Senior Easy Chair by Hans Brattrud
Designed in 1957 as part of the Scandia collection, consisting of the Scandia Junior dining chair, Scandia Nett lounge chair and the Scandia Senior easy chair, the chairs fell out of production in the 70’s. It is back once again through the efforts of Fjordfiesta who have worked closely with Hans Brattrud to recreate this Scandinavian icon. My favorite is the Scandia Senior Easy Chair.
5. Eames Longue Chair by Charles & Ray Eames
This is a classic the world over. Designed in 1956 and influenced by the traditional lounge chairs seen in English gentleman’s clubs, it is designed for comfort. This chair combines the use of materials and craftsmanship of the highest quality.
4. LC3 Armchair by Le Corbusier
Made from a tubular chrome frame and with its plush leather cushions, there is only one word that can best describe this chair- gorgeous. Although it was designed in 1928, this chair could occupy pride of place in any contemporary space and not look out of place.
3. Hans Wegner’s 3 legged Shell CH 07 Chair
Han’s Wegner is one of the pioneers of the Danish Modern Movement. His 3 legged Shell CH07 Chair was introduced in 1963, but only a few limited series were produced. After more than 30 years it made a breakthrough comeback in the late 90’s. I think this chair is incredibly modern and incredibly sexy with its low body and sleek curves. It is also fabulously crafted.
2. Barcelona Chair, Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe, 1929
This chair epitomizes Mies Van Der Rohe’s motto of ‘less is more’. Along with Corbusier’s Chaise Longue, it is probably one of the most recognizable pieces of furniture the world over. The seductive lines and sculptural quality of the chair make it one of the most beautiful chairs ever designed.
1. Le Corbusier, LC4 Chaise Longue, 1928
This modern take on a chaise longue has to be the one chair that I would die for. It’s hard to believe that this chair was designed almost a century ago- it looks futuristic even today. The lazy curve of its form is perfectly suggestive of its function. It is a chair that just makes you want to lay back and relax.
So that was my Top 10 list of the most iconic chairs designed over the past century. Would love to hear from you about which ones are yours.