Daily Ten: Iconic 20th Century Chairs
The Chair is something we most certainly take for granted. Even its most simplistic form, it is a well crafted, useful item. Incredibly functional, the humble chair has been raised to iconic levels thanks to the work of some of the 20th centuries greatest architects and designers. Below is our list of the most iconic chairs of the 20th Century.
10. Eames Plastic Armchair, 1950
Its hard to imagine the following scenario, but try: a world that saw the plastic chair as an innovation. Strange isn’t it. Believe it or not, the 1950′s were such a time. The Ray and Charles Eames Plastic Armchair is a modern style icon. Back then, it was part of the New York Museum of Modern Art competition, “Low Cost Furniture Design”. The chair was a massive success. Cheap and easy to make, it was versatile and went on to sell millions.
9. Frank Gehry, Wiggle Chair, 1972
These days Gehry was known for his outrageous architecture. In 1972, he was applying the same logic he now applies to his buildings to the Wiggle Chair. Made of cardboard, this chair really was a bold statement and unique take on the modest chair. Designed with the care and attention of an architect, and realised with the kind of free thinking seldom found outside of the industry, this is a chair that breaks many conventions, not the least the common notion that chairs require legs.
8. Eero Aarnio, Ball Chair, 1963
Any designer will tell you that the sphere can be a tough customer to work with. It isnt as versatile as the rectangle, and rarely plays well in groups. Aarnio, with his fabulous Ball Chair (also known as the Globe Chair) has done what many others have tried and failed: tamed the sphere. By just shearing one side of the ball and hollowing out the centre, he created a chair that is a dream to sit in. If you haven’t had the pleasure, you really should seek one out.
7. Le Corbusier, LC4 Chaise Longue, 1928
Not the most imaginatively named chair, the LC4 certainly makes up for it through its delightful design. A modernist take on the chaise longue, Le Corbusier was able to capture the function of the chair within a form that even today, nearly 85 years later, looks futuristic. His careful use of materials creates the impression that the chair is floating in mid air, whilst its simple leather cushions make sure you feel like your are.
6. Ron Arad, Tom Vac Chair, 1999
Barely old enough to be considered a classic anything, the quality of this chairs design speaks wonders that it is able to hold its own amongst such illustrious surroundings. Very much like the Eames Plastic Armchair, the success of the Tom Vac lies in its obedience to form and function. It is simple, not over complicated. It is able to perform its job as a chair, and whilst some chairs on this list may appear to be everything else as well, it is clearly obvious that this is one such product with no aspirations beyond its own, humble task.
5. Eames Chaise Longue, 1948
Following on from the functional Tom Vac chair is the gloriously strange Eames Chaise Longue. This chair was born out of a period when advances in plastic moulding were giving designers the change to experiment with new materials and new techniques. Sitting like an exhibition piece on its wooden stool, its no wonder this has become a style icon.
4. Arne Jacobsen, Egg Chair, 1958
the unique design of the Egg Chair is not only incredibly attractive, it also serves a wonderful, if slightly by-product in its existence feature: the ability to swivel between conversations, blocking out those behind you! There aren’t many chairs that offer you the opportunity to create privacy by merely turning you back, but then this is no regular chair. This is a chair of exceptional quality, designed by a man considered to be one of the 20th Centuries greatest designers. The chairs design provides the user with a sense of privacy and encasement. The ‘wings’ that stretch above and out from the chair provide a certain level of screening, and heighten the feeling that the chair is quite literally containing you. Throw all this in with the fact that is it quite simply one of the most comfortable chairs on our list, and you have yourself one quality bum rest.
3. LC3 Sofa Armchair, Le Corbusier, 1928
Corbusier worked in a very methodical manner, with a clear understanding of the relationship between the human scale and its effect on the way we interact with the world around us. With this key understanding, Le Corbusier created the ‘lovingly’ named LC3 Sofa Armchair, the only chair on our list designed specifically for members of one sex: women. It occured to Corbusier that women often sit with their legs crossed and this chair is designed to allow women to do so with the most comfort. Caring and a great designer, quite a catch. Made from a tubular chrome frame and leather cushions, this is a simply chair that is simply gorgeous.
2. Barcelona Chair, Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe, 1929
There is nothing to be said about this chair except wow. Iconic and memorable, it is definitely one of the most recognisable items of furniture to ever have been created. Simple and plain in its appearance, the chair comes from anything but humble beginnings. The Barcelona Chair made it’s debut at the 1929 International Exhibition in Barcelona, Spain, designed for the king and queen of Spain to use during the exhibition. The clean aesthetics of the German Pavillion (also a Van Der Rohe design) was the perfect backdrop for the sculptural shape of this beautiful chair.
1. Eames Lounge Chair, 1956
I can categorically say there is no chair on the face of this planet that I would rather own than this. The Eames Lounge Chair combines ultimate comfort with the best materials and workmanship of the highest quality. In the tradition of the English club chair, which inspired this classic design by Charles and Ray Eames, the original appearance of the Lounge Chair was defined by a dark wood veneer and black leather. An instant classic, recognisable the world over, the Eames Lounge Chair is tops todays Daily Ten!