Iconic Chairs

Chairs do an awful lot for us, all contained in one package. They are the result of engineering and imagination in equal measure and most of us can think of a chair that we love above all others. The golden age of the chair occurred during the 20th century when technology enabled mass production for the first time. The best designers in the world seized on this creative opportunity, redesigning and reinventing previously unimportant piece of furniture. Many of the most iconic chairs were made by architects, so perhaps chairs are more like small buildings than we realise!

Hans Wegner and his “Papa Bear”

Designed in 1954, the Danish designer created a truly comfortable chair and many other designers over the years have cited the Papa Bear as the comfiest chair they’ve ever sat in. The pitch and depth are ideal, and the padding is expertly positioned, creating a cradle to hold us in. Once tried, you’ll never want to stand up again!

Verner Panton and his “Stacking Chair”

What made the Panton Chair of 1960 so unique was that it was the first chair to be made in one single form of moulded plastic that could be stacked. It’s timeless appeal and versatility allows this chair to be used virtually anywhere and since going into production in 1968, it remains as popular as ever and represents the swinging 60s perfectly. For your own Panton Chair, visit Pash Classics.

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe  and his “Barcelona” Chair

This German architect designed the Barcelona chair for the German Pavilion of the Barcelona International Exhibition in 1929. The chair was never designed to be mass-produced but was to be a one-off throne-like piece for a royal visit to the Pavilion. Perhaps not the comfiest chair in history but it looked amazing and still does.

Le Corbusier and his “Grand Confort”

This was a joint venture between Le Corbusier, Charlotte Perriand and Pierre Jeanneret in 1928 and features an ingenious method of supporting cushions in an open frame. It evokes the eras of the 30s and 70s with its chrome skeleton and plush cushion basket design. A must for any fans of the International Style movement.

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Michael Thonet’s “209”

In 1900 in Austria, one of the most influential innovations of the modern era of chair design occurred in Thonet’s 209 chair. He invented a process to bend wood with steam and masterminded the curvilinear style of furniture that had such an impact on 20th century design. An incredibly modern chair for its era.

Eero Saarinen’s “Tulip”

Around 1955 in the United States, design changed virtually overnight when Saarinen revealed his single-material, single-form chair, the Tulip. Gone was the idea that a chair had to stand on four legs. Saarinen had always been bothered by the mess of chair of legs and wanted to do with away with them. The result was revolutionary, fluid and majestically beautiful – just like a tulip!

Author: Kei Taylor

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