Why are Chairs so important?
Whenever people talk about design, the chair is almost always one of the main cultural objects discussed. Almost every famous designer or architect has their signature chair: from the first industrially mass-produced No. 14 chair by Michael Thonet, to the Bauhaus like Walter Gropius, and so many more.
So, why the chair? we need objects that function, and most aren’t found ready-made in nature. So someone somewhere needs to conceptualize what it should look like, how it’s made and with what materials, and how we interact with its functionality.
Chairs can communicate status and lifestyle, emotion and comfort. Here is our selection of the 10 most iconic chairs of the century.
Wassily Chair – Marcel Breuer
Drawing inspiration from the frame of a bicycle and influenced by the constructivist theories of the De Stijl Movement, Marcel Breuer reduced the classic club chair to its elemental lines and planes, hence changing the course of furniture design. The Wassily Chair was much more simplistic and structurally exposed compared to other chairs in the 1920s. It was an abstract piece of art.
Egg Chair – Arne Jacobsen
The Jacobsen’s Egg Chair first appeared in the reception areas of the Royal Hotel in Copenhagen. This chair was a culmination of a new technique that Jacobsen established with the Egg. Like a sculptor, Jacobsen first sculpted the Egg out of clay in his garage so he could perfect the shape. Then, he molded the Egg Chair out of a strong foam inner shell under the upholstery. It also includes a footrest to complement the sculptural armchair.
Eames Lounge Chair – Charles and Ray Eames
The instantly-recognizable Eames lounge chair was designed in 1956 by husband-and-wife team Charles and Ray Eames. They did not aim to make a classic design, their goal was to simply improve existing lounge chairs. This unique chair incorporates a two-directional design and is composed of three curved plywood shells draped in leather cushioning.
Panton Chair – Verner Panton
Designed in 1960, It was the first chair to be manufactured entirely out of plastic in one single piece. The comfort of this chair results from the combination of a cantilever structure with an anthropomorphic shape and a slightly flexible material. The Panton Chair has received several international design awards and is characterized in the collections of many prominent museums.
Cesca Chair – Marcel Breuer
Marcel Breuer created the Cesca Chair in 1928, which is believed to be the first bent tubular steel chair design. Named in tribute to his daughter Francesca, the simple design pairs the industrial-age aesthetic of tubular steel with caning and wood. This chair was the real game-changer: It offered a comfortable bounce and seemed to float a human being on air.
Tulip chair – Eero Saarinen
A tectonic design shift occurred overnight when Saarinen revealed his attempt at a single-material, single-form chair, which blew up the notion that a chair had to stand on four posts. He had finally solved his long desire to clean up, as he called it, the “slum of legs.” The result was epic and also as majestically fluid and beautiful as, well, a tulip.
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Barcelona Chair – Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich
One of the most frequently used chairs in interior design, Barcelona Chair resulted from a collaboration between the famous Bauhaus architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and his longtime partner-companion, architect and designer Lilly Reich.
It is one of the most recognized objects of the last century and an icon of the modern movement. The Barcelona Chair displays a simple elegance that exemplifies Mies’ famous maxim – “less is more.”
Ghost Chair – Philippe Stark
It is a comfortable armchair in transparent and colored polycarbonate in the Louis XV style. This unique chair has great charm and considerable visual appeal and brings a touch of elegance and irony to any style of home or public area.
Ball Chair – Eero Aarnio
When the Finnish designer Eero Aarnio moved into his first house back in 1962, he had no proper armchair, so he decided to make one. While sketching possible designs, he noticed the simplest resembled a ball. So he sat in a chair and had his wife draw the course of his head on the wall, which is how he determined the height and width of the chair, as he was taller than his wife. The futuristic shape was a hit in the mod 1960s and the seat quickly became a centerpiece of stylish modernist homes.
Papa Bear Chair – Hans J. Wegner
The gorgeous Papa Bear Chair, also known as the Teddy Bear Chair, has two outstretched arms with wood detailing that was once described by a critic as “great bear paws embracing you from behind”, hence the name.
Function and purpose, human anatomy, the psychology of the occasion, and physical properties all come together to solve a particular problem.
The solution to that problem is a Chair.
Some suggestions of Laskasas extensive collection of chairs:
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