The Loop chaise lounge is a hybrid chair/rug created by young Dutch designer Sophie De Vocht, c. 2011.
The next time you take a seat in a chair, whether it is an ordinary café chair or a luxuriously appointed lounge chair, consider yourself privileged. Though chairs have been around for thousands of years, it wasn’t too long ago that only the wealthy and members of the highest echelons of society were able to take a load off in what we commonly know as a chair: a seat supported by four legs and a back. The bourgeois and working classes had always been relegated to sit on backless wooden benches or stools. By the 1880’s, however, the Second Industrial Revolution was in full swing and companies like Chicago’s Sears, Roebuck, & Co. sold “machined sets” available for the masses, democratizing the once aristocratic concept of a chair. Since then, the chair has been one of the most designed and written about artifacts of the modern age.
Now you may be asking yourself, “What makes the chair so special?” Aside from it being a mirror reflection of our culture, and giving us a glimpse into the architecture and technology of tomorrow, a chair can make an ordinary space extra-ordinary. Its form, material, and color all converge at once creating a functional sculpture and an anchor to a room’s design. Much like a work of art, the chair can elevate atmosphere and communicate an aesthetic unlike any other piece of furniture.
The evolution of the chair over the past 150 years is quite remarkable – from the early craftsmen working with only their hands and simple tools, to modern designers using AutoCAD and computer numerical control (CNC) machines – the chair has come a long way, and we think it deserves a little attention. So go on and find a seat (if you’re not already in one), lean back, get comfy, and picture yourself in one of these modern (and not-s0-modern) gems sure to be a piece de résistance to any interior.
Jean Prouvé’s Cité lounge chair, originally designed for a competition to furnish the student residence halls at the University of Nancy, France, c. 1930.
Pierre Paulin’s No. 577 chair, sometimes referred to as the “Tongue” because of its sinuous form, sits directly on the floor allowing you to relax in a comfortable, informal posture, c. 1967.
This Peter Behrens chair model was designed for the dining room of the Behrens’ villa on the Darmstadt Mathildenhohe upon the occasion of the exhibition “Ein Dokument Deutscher Kunst,” c. 1901.
The Pelican chair by Finn Juhl is an ode to one of his influences, sculptor Jean Arp, c. 1941.
The Elisabette arm chair by Sam Baron has connections to the French interiors of the XVI century. His works embody the chic spirit typical of the French decorative tradition, c. 2011.
According to a sale catalogue of 1883, this chair, designed by Christopher Dresser, was originally intended for a drawing room or boudoir. It combines a simple form with an unusual arrangement of vertical and diagonal struts in the back, c. 1880.
The Distex lounge chair, model no. 807 by Gio Ponti, was one of the early “Atomic Age” chair designs, c. 1953.
The RE-TROUVÉ Collection by Patricia Urquiola is inspired by the meeting of the present and the past: nostalgic design from the fifties with its curls and spirals combined with modern production, c. 2012.
The Maxell chair by Phase Design is geometric poetry, with harmonious proportions and intriguing angles all unifying to form the sculptural seat, c. 2012.