Hello, design enthusiasts! Today, I want to take you on a journey through time and showcase 9 iconic chairs that have truly left their mark on the world. These chairs, designed between 1926 and 2008, have revolutionized the way we think about furniture and the impact it can have on our lives. From the curvaceous Bibendum chair to the organic Vegetal, each piece tells a unique story of innovation and self-expression. So, let's dive in and discover the beauty and significance of these timeless designs.
BIBENDUM - (1926)
Eileen Gray - Ireland
Eileen Gray, although not fully recognized in a male-dominated field until after her passing, rose to become one of the most influential designers of the 20th century. The Bibendum chair, with its curvaceous and feminine form, exudes comfort and style. Made from soft leather, tire-like padded tubes, and tubular steel, this masterpiece was unlike anything seen before. Its name, Bibendum, comes from the Cleopatra Ode: 'Now is the time to drink', perfectly capturing its purpose of relaxation and social connection.
THE GRAND CONFORT - (1928 - 1930)
Le Corbusier- France/Sweden
Le Corbusier, the renowned architect and designer, teamed up with Charlotte Perriand and Pierre Jeanneret to create a chair that challenged the traditional Club Chair. The result? The awe-inspiring Grand Confort. Le Corbusier, always pushing the boundaries of design, wanted to create a "machine for sitting in." His vision was to showcase the structural elements on the outside, giving the chair an industrial yet elegant appeal. Inspired by the German Bauhaus movement, the Grand Confort features a tubular steel "corset" that holds together the bulging, cubist leather cushions. This modernist masterpiece stands as a testament to Le Corbusier's innovative spirit and his desire to create furniture that embodies both form and function.
THE WISHBONE - (1949)
Hans Wegner - 1949
Meet the Wishbone chair, an iconic piece of furniture that has become a must-have for modern design enthusiasts around the world. has captivated the hearts of design enthusiasts for over 70 years, standing as a testament to timeless beauty and exquisite craftsmanship. What sets the Wishbone chair apart is its effortless blend of organic shapes and minimalist elegance. With its distinct Y-shaped backrest resembling a wishbone, this chair brings a touch of natural beauty into any space. The clean lines and timeless silhouette create a harmonious balance, making it a versatile piece that complements a wide range of interior styles. Wishbone chair boasts a construction of 14 separate components. One of its most remarkable features is the use of carefully woven paper cordage that forms the seat. Not only does this innovative material provide a comfortable seating experience, but it also lends a sense of texture and warmth to the chair's overall design. Since its official introduction in 1950, this mid-century modern masterpiece has remained in continuous production, standing strong as a symbol of enduring style. Its ability to transcend trends and seamlessly integrate into various design narratives is a testament to its exceptional craftsmanship and enduring appeal. Owning a Wishbone chair means embracing a piece of design history while creating a space that effortlessly expresses your unique style and personality.
THE TULIP (1953)
Eero Saarinen - Finland/The States
Son of designers Eliel and Loja Saarinen, Eero Saarinen was destined for design. He had a long-standing hatred for the visual clutter that 4 legged chairs created. He believed that they made for a "confusing and unrestful world" and so, he came up with the 1-legged chair; AKA the Tulip. With its perfect proportions and modern lines, this MCM "Space Age" line of furniture also includes tables, armchairs, and stools. Today, you'll find this chair all over the world inside contemporary, minimalist, eclectic, and modernist homes.
EAMES LOUNGE (1956)
Charles and Ray Eames - The States
When it comes to iconic pieces of furniture that effortlessly blend comfort and style, the Eames Lounge Chair stands in a league of its own. This chair is not just a seat; it's an experience. Designed by the legendary duo Charles and Ray Eames, the Eames Lounge Chair is a true testament to their unparalleled craftsmanship and innovative design. Its timeless silhouette, with its curved plywood shell and sumptuous leather upholstery, exudes a sense of sophistication that elevates any space. Often called "The Most Famous Chair in the World", the Eames Lounge Chair defines the word Icon.
Verner Panton - Denmark
Designed by the visionary Verner Panton, this chair is another true icon of Modern design. This chair pushed the physical limits of manufacturing. After years of prototyping and redesigning, Vitra and Panton used cold-pressed, glass-fiber-reinforced polyester to create this famous shape. Today, we may frown upon plastic creations, but at the time, it was the first of its kind: a one-piece, all-plastic chair with a cantilever design. The sculptural, curvy shape and bright colors matched the energy of the 60s perfectly. Whether you use it as a statement piece in your living room or as a stylish addition to your dining area, the Panton Chair is sure to make a lasting impression.
EKSTREM CHAIR (Prototype: 1972 - Official Launch: 1984)
Terje Ekstrom - Norway
Reminiscent of Gumby doing a backbend, this chair is a bold statement that adds a touch of avant-garde style to any space. With its unconventional shape and striking angles, it becomes a conversation starter and a delightful surprise for anyone who encounters it. This Post-Modern chair allows the user to sit in many comfortable and natural positions rather than forcing a straight-backed, formal posture. Praised for its limitless flexibility, sculptural and rebel-esque nature, it became an 80's icon. The true statement piece and sometimes polarizing Ektsrem chair deserves a spot in history.
LOUIS GHOST (2002)
Arguably the first truly iconic chair of the 21st Century, the Louis Ghost is made entirely out of transparent polycarbonate material and has a unique form inspired by 18th-century French furniture (the Louis XVI style specifically). Louis Ghost Chair adds a touch of timeless charm while creating the illusion of space and lightness. It's quite versatile and suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. These features have contributed to its popularity, making it an extremely well-known design piece of the 21st century that has been showcased in museums and galleries worldwide.
Bouroullec Brothers & Vitra - France
Inspired by the organic forms found in nature, this mesmerizing chair features a delicate and intricate lattice-like structure that mimics branches and leaves. Its ergonomic design embraces your body, providing both comfort and support. This whimsical and versatile chair was meant to look like it had "sprouted up like a plant with branches to form the seat and back." The use of polyamide and injection molding technology allowed them to create this lightweight, stacking, and universally easy-to-use chair. Nature has always been a profound source of inspiration for designers, and the Vegetal Chair is a testament to the transformative power of incorporating organic elements into our living spaces.
As we end this series on Chairs that changed the world, I'd like to reflect on how a well-designed chair goes beyond its practical purpose. It becomes a symbol of self-expression and a reflection of our unique stories and journeys. Remember, your space can be a canvas for self-expression. Let's create an environment that brings you joy, inspires others, and tells your unique story. Which was your favorite?
Much Love xx
Hannah Louise Burcham