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10 Chairs That Will Make You Swoon

What would the world be without chairs? Most of us can be found sitting for more than three quarters of the day when not sleeping laying down in a bed. The school folks and the office folks know this all too well. Even the active folks, after a hard run or an intense work out, can surely appreciate the support of a good chair.

It’s perhaps the undeniable functionality of the basic chair that has led to the design world’s obsession with these pieces. Ask any furniture designer or architect even, and he or she is bound to have designed a few chairs in his or her career. The Danish Museum of Design is one example of how chairs have impacted and shaped an entire society, a place with a chair around every corner.

Chairs are so ubiquitous that they even tell us stories about how we live today. The universal plastic chair, for example, can be found around the world, from high class homes to the slums of Mumbai. The plastic chair thus creates value in different ways for different people, speaking about the way we become connected to each other and to that around us. The mass production is an ode to the industrial revolution, while (ironically) reflective of the modern day disconnect as a result from our commodity fetishism. Whether it’s good news or bad news, chairs have a lot to say about how we live and how we are.

Here are ten chairs (we put a limit on ourselves because this list could seriously go on and on) that comprise a mix of icons, classics and modern ones from the new millennium. Here are ten chairs that will make you think; feel; and swoon until your knees become so weak that you’ll need to grab a seat for yourself after this.

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Look at any interior design blog and you will see these iconic Eames chairs. Most of these classic molded plastic chairs are new reproductions, as the originals are pretty hard to come by nowadays.

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I’ll have a slice of this one – Slice Chair by Pierre Paulin

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Diamonds are forever, and so is this diamond inspired wire chair by Harry Bertoia

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This modern industrial beauty was actually designed in the 1920’s by a fellow named Marcel Breuer. The Wassily Chair is the first chair design that used seamless stainless steel tubing, which shocked the design world for its absolute innovation.

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You may know Philippe Starck for his infamous Ghost chair designs. This new striking piece may feel somewhat familiar to you. Probably because the Masters Chair combines the iconic frames of the Arne Jacobsen Series 7, the Eames DSW and the Saarinen Tulip Armchair. Do you see the icons within?

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The Jasper Morrison Hal chair is a simple, cute and playful Nordic inspired design. You can see guy in at least one of the trendiest new restaurants in Vancouver.

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The CH25 Easy Chair takes 10 hours for an artisan to weave the intricate paper cord seating. We thank Hans for this one.

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Tell me you DON’T know this chair. The Barcelona chair by Mies van der Rohe is world renowned, appropriate for it’s original unveiling at the 1929 World Fair.

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Poul Kjaerholm preferred steel over wood in his now classic sometimes understated designs. The PK31 Armchair is a fine example of how the sleek industrial profile of steel takes the cake.

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The classic Wegner Wishbone Chair is ready for you.

Liked what you saw? Want more? See our Pinterest page for the endless scroll of chair porn.

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A Brief History of Molded Plastic Chair Design

There is something about the molded plastic chair. Although criticized by some people as being hopelessly tacky, most could otherwise argue that the molded plastic chair is a piece of ubiquitous design; international, universal, utilitarian and effortlessly beautiful. Whatever your opinions may be, there is no denying that this is a classic chair. As Mariana Gosnell wrote for Smithsonian Magazine in 2004,

No matter what you’re doing, millions of other people around the world are likely sitting right now on a single-piece, jointless, all-plastic, all-weather, inexpensive, molded stacking chair. It may be the most popular chair in history.

The molded plastic chair, or the technically-named resin chair, was first experimented with in the post-war era. Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen were some of the first notable designers who sought to change the way America could live with the economic changes of the time; they looked to produce something that was not only aesthetically well designed, but also functional and affordable for the masses. The initial plastic chairs designed from the 1940s – 1950s period offered a segue towards where the style would soon develop. Up until this point, none of the chairs were fully independent from other materials such as fiberglass and metal, which would afterwards reinforce the mere plastic shell of the design. The classic Eames DSW Molded Plastic Chair and the iconic Saarinen Tulip Chair are two examples of the early plastic shell chairs first designed.

In the 1960s, improvements in technology paved way for the first single-form plastic chair. Verner Panton was the first to design a monobloc chair (a single piece of plastic shaped by injection molding), which would become the basis for the collective of plastic chairs we see today. The single long S curve of the Panton Chair, designed in 1968 by Verner Panton, is a well known symbol that kick-started the plastic revolution.

Panton Chair

Panton Chair Premium Reproduction by Rove Concepts

Numerous chairs have emerged since Panton’s design invention, from the reimagining of the original aluminum metal Navy Chair by Wilton Carlyle Dinges to completely new designs of furniture creation by the industries modern leading men. Get to know all of the molded plastic chair classics – fun fact, most of which are made from polypropylene plastic. The Compas Armchair by Patrick Norguet, the Bellini Chair by Mario Bellini and the Skin Chair by Archirivolto Design are just a few of the new chairs added to our collection of mid-century modern dining chairs.

Compas Armchair

Compas Arm Chair Premium Reproduction by Rove Concepts

Bellini Chair

Bellini Chair Premium Reproduction by Rove Concepts

 

Skin Chair

Skin Chair Premium Reproduction by Rove Concepts

Whether you think them the ugliest things to arrive in design, or a real modern breakthrough that deserves to be “chairished” for the generations in which they will last, there’s no doubt these plastic chairs have made an impact around the world.

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