Chairs are continually evolving objects, they say a lot about eras in history, and are a fabulous way to peer into the past. They express the life and times of both the designers who created them, as well as the average consumers who purchased them. The chair is an iconic symbol of a particular epoch, a simplified representation of a complex anthropological study regarding people and place. They dissect and de-construct what life might have been like during their time of inception, and are far more important than you may think! Many of us consider seats as simply perfunctory spaces to rest and sit, but contrariwise have far more significance and importance.
Chairs are works of art; they exude culture, style, and far more than simply a surface to place one's bottom. The chronology of chair design is an extremely interesting one, and it is for this reason we see chairs represented in art galleries and museums all over the world. The simple chair is an ideal indicator for the dynamic and developing history of design.
Today on homify we have collated 10 of our favourites. They are symbols of iconic design throughout the last century, but more than that, they are truly fabulous chairs! Read on and check out the stylishly inspirational images below, and consider which iconic chair you would choose for your home.
Designer: Arne Jacobsen
Year of invention: 1958
Characterised by: egg shape, high back, matching ottoman, low arms
The Egg Chair is one of the most iconic chairs that have ever been made. Instantly recognisable, it was inspired by the architect and designer Eero Saarinen's Womb chair, and has truly stood the test of time. Comfortable, stylish, and perfect for that retro ambience, the Egg Chair is an age-defiant choice that is sure to brighten and enhance your interior. Originally designed for the Radisson SAS hotel in Copenhagen, this gorgeous seat is available in a range of colours and works well juxtaposed against contemporary décor.
Designer: Hans J Wagner
Year of invention: 1949
Characterised by: thatched seat construction, curved timber seat back
You may have seen the Wishbone chair in cafés, restaurants, and dining rooms all over the world as it is one of the most popular seats to have ever been invented. The 'backbone' of the seat as well as the top piece of wood is shaped as a chicken wishbone, and is responsible for its name. The chair was designed to replicate the classical portraits of Danish merchants sitting on Chinese Ming chairs, and is considered an iconic piece of mid-century design. Available in a range of different timber tones, this seat would suit virtually any dining space in any home!
Designer: Hans J Wagner
Year of invention: 1951
Characterised by: tufted back, upwards slanting arms, timber legs and arm rests, thin single cushion
Reminiscent of a snug bear hug, this intriguing and highly unique chair is sure to give your interior a boost in style and sophistication. Still constructed to Wagner's exact specifications today, this is a piece of history that will enhance your interior aesthetic with a sense of comfort and originality.
Designer: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Year of invention: 1929
Characterised by: chrome frame, tufted leather cushions, monochromatic colour scheme
Elegant, stylish, and ultra-sophisticated, the Barcelona chair oozes refinement and a gorgeous sense of classicism. Designed for the German Pavilion at the International Exposition of 1929, which was hosted by Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, this is also where the chair gets its name. Available in both black and white, the monochromatic nature ensures the chair is sleek and slick.
Year of invention: 1950s
Characterised by: vinyl cords tied together on a pear shaped frame, bright colours, thin metal legs
When we think of iconic Acapulco we imagine the 50s and 60s. This famous Brazilian beach's heyday was a time of style, fashion, and tropical Hollywood glamour. This chair perfectly encapsulates the aesthetic and ambience of this fabulously retro holiday destination. With elements of folk design, modernism, and industrialism thrown into the mix, this is one chair that is unlikely to be forgotten. Still a popular choice for many outdoor areas, as well as stylish indoor occasional settings, the Acapulco chair is an enduring and exciting piece of mid-century design.
Designer: Charles and Ray Eames
Year of invention: 1956
Characterised by: moulded plywood, stuffed leather seat, matching ottoman
Reminiscent of a baseball mitt, this stylish seat and ottoman combination revolutionised the idea of how to relax and recline in one's home. With the English Club chair as inspiration, Charles and Ray Eames reinvented the idea of the modern recliner, and created a truly iconic piece of history. Available in a range of colours and textile options, the chair is an heirloom investment for life
Year of invention: 18th century
Characterised by: tufted leather back upholstery, curved arms, stuffed leather cushions, turned timber feet
One of the most iconic of all living room furniture the Chesterfield sofa is a timeless addition to any living room. Developed in the 18th century, the Chesterfield is well-known for its tufted leather upholstery and refined yet masculine aesthetic.
If you'd like to learn more about the Chesterfield sofa, check out our other Ideabook here: An icon: the Chesterfield
Designer: Jorge Ferrari Hardor, Juan Kurchan, Antonio Bonet
Year of invention: 1938
Characterised by: reclined folding frame, cloth sling attached to the frame's highest points, leather or fabric seat
This folding chair is both attractive and practical, adding to its popularity as an iconic and versatile seating option. Also known as a BKF chair, this gorgeous item was designed in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and became an instant classic.
Designer: Charles and Ray Eames
Year of invention: 1948
Characterised by: moulded plastic (fibreglass) seat shell, bright colours, timber or metal legs, sometimes comes with a padded cushion
Charles and Ray Eames are responsible for a number of iconic chairs, and it was difficult knowing which to choose for our Ideabook. The DSW and the DAW chairs are probably two of the most popular, with the DAW taking out our favourite spot! This chair was created as a low cost option for families, and remains one of the most popular chair designs for contemporary, modern, and virtually all dwellings.
Designer: Xavier Pauchard
Year of invention: 1927
Characterised by: galvanised metal frame, bright primary colours, rustproof, robust design, stackable
An impressive invention for its time, the Tolix chair is the epitome of an industrial-chic aesthetic. Its inventor, Xavier Pauchard, was a pioneer of galvanisation in France, and produced the highly original chair as a stackable and versatile domestic addition. Available in an endless array of bright hues and gorgeous shades, the Tolix chair is a more than suitable addition to any home, or style of abode.
If you are looking at adding some new feature furniture to your abode, chat to a professional to get some expert advice on styling and designing your interior.