A practical piece of furniture, the chair! There are many famous designs and styles out there, do you know their names?
Maybe this will help you out with piecing together that perfect living room look, or to get a good handle on the keyword search in your next online shopping expedition. From decorating your dining room, to finding the finishing piece to your library, here are 13 iconic chairs you should know about.
1. Stool 60
The origins of the stool stretch far back into history, but this iconic three-legged stool is one we can trace to a particular point in time. Known as Stool 60, it was designed by Finnish designer Alvar Aalto in 1933. Famous for the round seat and its unique bends in the legs, it is easy to stack and often replicated. It continues to represent modern Scandinavian design.
We love the versatility of the colors, its functional elegance and it’s no surprise that this sleek, practical stool continues to be one of the most used chairs around.
2. Ball Chair
Along with knee high boots and Twiggy make-up, the Ball Chair instantly evokes that 60’s Mod feel. Designed by Eero Aarnio in 1963 when trying to create furniture for his new home, Aarnio brilliantly created the chair’s stunning white spherical finish using plastic and fiberglass. Since then, the Ball Chair has enjoyed celebrity status for being poptastic and futuristic, used in movies like Mars Attacks and Men in Black.
3. Bertoia Chair
With geometric shapes all the rave, the iconic mid-century 1952 Bertoia chair is one you’d want to add to your collection. When Harry Bertoia started working with metal, he was fascinated with the way the wires took on sculptural shapes the more he experimented with them. It wasn’t long until he created the famous wired Bertoia chairs that we can now find at home.
The chair looks great with cushions or even a white faux fur throw like above. We’re having a hard time picking our favorite between the black powder coat and polished chrome finish – both add the perfect industrial touch to any space.
4. No. 14 Chair
Chances are that at one point in time you’ve found yourself seated on the No. 14 at a quaint café. Designed by Michael Thonet in 1859, this elegant bentwood chair was originally made with a woven seat, which is ideal for bistros and cafés as any spilled liquid easily passes through making it easier to clean. But what made it a design classic was the technique used in creating the curved backrest. It took years to refine the technique, and when Thonet succeeded, the Bistro chair became one of the best-selling chairs with its sculpture-like quality. Exuding an air of romance, it allows you to achieve that Parisian chic dining room look you’ve always dreamed of.
5. Eames Lounge Chair
Considered one of the most significant designs of the 20th century, the Eames Lounge Chair is an emblem of sophistication for mid-century modern home owners. Charles and Ray Eames wanted to design a chair that replicated “the warm receptive look of a well-used baseman’s mitt” which led to the birth of the Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman set.
There’s something so inviting about the leather seat that makes you want to sink into its embrace. It radiates with a beautiful wooden finish combined wonderfully with the plush cushion. We think the best way to refresh during a busy day is to prop your feet up on the ottoman and meditate your worries away.
6. Louis Ghost Chair
If you love a classic shape but you’re looking to modernize your space, the Louis Ghost Chair is a breath of fresh air. Inspired by the Louis XV style of armchairs, Phillippe Starck unveiled in 2002 the advanced technique of creating a chair out of a single mold of polycarbonate to make one of the most popular transparent chairs. True to its name, it is barely a whisper in the room, blending effortlessly no matter where you put it.
7. Marais A Chair
Comfy and sturdy, these retro Marais A chairs are a favorite go-to for stylish casual dining sets. Designed in 1934 by Xavier Pauchard, the Marais A was originally intended as outdoor furniture, made with galvanized steel that could withstand both rain and shine. Robust and easily stackable it’s no wonder that kitchens and cafés all over the world have been eager to use these chairs.
The metal chair is now available with a powder coated finish in any color you like, making it ideal for mixing and matching to go with your kitchen or patio decor. We love the idea of pairing these chairs with a textured window seat for that playful dimension.
8. Panton S
This is how it feels to defy gravity. Vernon Panton was inspired by a neatly stacked pile of plastic buckets and decided to create an S-shaped plastic chair. It was the first time that a chair was made entirely with one piece of molded plastic and the result is fantastic. The Panton S is a striking sculpture that’s sure to get the conversation going. Often paired with a shell chair, like this home tour in Poland.
9. Parsons Chair
It’s time to put a name on the world’s most popular dining chair – the Parsons Chair. Created in the 1930s, its name is said to originate from Parsons School of Design, where the chair was made. Jean-Michel Frank challenged his students to create a table with simple lines and a matching chair.
The Parsons chair is popular for good reason too. The armless feature of the upholstered chairs makes them convenient and comfortable in the dining room.
10. Porter’s Chair
Back in medieval England, the gatekeeper would sit by the front door of an estate so that they could hear if there were any guests knocking. The Porter’s Chair was designed so that the gatekeeper could stay warm and endure cold breezes while sitting for a long period of time. The tall hollowed-out dome shape was the perfect solution for sheltering from the draughts of the entryway. With such a rich history, a Porter’s Chair adds the perfect amount of drama to any space where you might want to curl up. We love the privacy the canopy provides.
11. Eames Shell Chair
Charles and Ray Eames were also behind the famous Eames Shell Chairs that are one of today’s major home decor silhouettes. The molded fiberglass shell can be put over the top of different leg styles; maybe the metal Eiffel-style base, or with wood doweling, or on a rocker. It’s easy to see why these chairs can be found everywhere, they look phenomenal and almost as if the seat is floating.
12. Wishbone Chair
If you’re looking to add a touch of zen to your dining space, the 1949 Wishbone Chair is the chair you’ll want to go for. Inspired by paintings of merchants sitting on Ming chairs, Hans Wegner created a lightweight chair which features a low backrest and a Y-shaped spine. The wishbone chair requires 14 pieces, with its hand-woven seat pad made out of paper cord.
We love the refreshing vibe it creates in a well-lit dining room. In a beautiful wood finish, you can’t go wrong. It works well with a clean white tulip table and white interiors. One thing is certain, this chair will never go out of style.
13. Model 3107
So ubiquitous you probably didn’t even know it had a name. The Model 3107 chair was made using bent plywood in 1955, designed by Danish architect Arne Jacobsen. It’s one of the most copied chairs in the world.
With so many iconic styles and shapes out there, arm yourself with the stories and the names so that you can really know what you’re looking for. Do let us know if this has helped you find out a bit more about the furniture you own. Which designer chairs do you want or love? Did we leave out your favorite? Tell us in the comments!