There are certain pieces of furniture that you’ll immediately recognize even if you don’t know their origins. The form, style, and lines of items such as these often become part of the design vocabulary for generations. Here are three iconic chair designs every design-lover should know.
This is the classic lounge chair with an accompanying ottoman that you’ll see in many a man cave, reading nook, or living room. Charles and Ray Eames, a husband-wife pair, designed the chair in 1956. Using leather upholstery and a molded plywood technology developed in the 1940s, the team designed the chair to fit the user like a glove. It’s said that they drew inspiration from a worn baseball mitt.
Architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe made this chair for the German Pavilion at the 1929 International Exposition held in Barcelona, Spain. Deceptively simple in design, the chair is low slung, with X-shaped stainless steel legs extending from the frame and many panels of cushioning. It defines the space around it as modern through and through. The chair isn’t very comfortable, and getting up out of it is difficult once you sit. But mass production wasn’t in the plan: the chair’s job was simply to look fabulous.
Although the original Mies-designed pavilion was demolished in 1930, it was reconstructed starting in 1983. The reconstruction, completed in 1986, now serves as a museum, where you can see reproductions of the original Barcelona chairs, upholstered in white leather, in their original setting.
Created in Argentina in 1938 by designers Antoni Bonet i Castellana, Juan Kurchan, and Jorge Ferrari-Hardoy, the butterfly chair has become ubiquitous in homes, dormitories, and starter apartments. The original design features a leather seat slung from the corners of a metal frame.
Many knockoffs of these three iconic chairs designs every design-lover should know have appeared over the years. However, if you want an official Barcelona or butterfly chair, you’ll have to check with the Knoll furniture company or search auction sites. For Eames chairs, head to Hermann Miller furniture online. If you buy a used chair, check its dimensions against the specifications of the original before you pay, or you may get a chair that’s not authentic.
The modern forms of these chairs continue to inspire our designers today. From dining chairs to lounge chairs, from contemporary counter-height stools to modern coffee tables, the designs available at Harmony Modern will grace your home or business with comfort and style.