Unless you’re particularly design-minded, you’re unlikely to pay much attention to the humble chair. After all, they’re not exactly what you’d call “exotic” and they spend most of the time directly beneath us, out of sight and out of mind. The only time they really become conspicuous is when they make for uncomfortable sitting or too many people come round for dinner.
That’s probably why designers have gone to such lengths to elevate this furniture staple to something worthy of the label “art”, something you might even want to look at more than you would sit on. Here are five examples of eye-catching, iconic chairs:
Not the catchiest name is it? But the sleek, suggestive lines of this chair, designed by Arne Jacobsen, have allegedly made it the most copied chair in the world. Christine Keeler famously posed for Lewis Morley in a copy of the chair.
Using technically challenging upholstery techniques without neglecting comfort, the Heron Chair by Ernest Race has become a classic example of post-war British furniture design. It’s still produced today by Race Furniture, who specialise in stacking chairs and theatre seating.
The creation of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Lily Reich, the Barcelona chair was mocked by Tom Wolfe as “the Platonic ideal chair” but that didn’t stop it making its way into the office receptions and households the world over.
Designed by Eero Saarinen in the 1950s, the Tulip chair was a hallmark of modernist industrial design. So much so that it even appeared on the bridge of the U.S.S. Enterprise.
The brainchild of Hans J. Wegner, the Wishbone or Y chair is instantly recognisable thanks to the Y-shaped back support and its skeletal, sculptural beauty.