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RL Picks: Iconic Chairs for your Home

Ready to invest in a statement chair for your personal space? Find more about modern pieces with our handy guide.


Don't buy these modern icons just because of how they look -- get to know them first! Interior designer and teacher Tess Quevedo explains why these pieces are important, and how they changed the way we live today. 

Butterfly Stool

Designer: Sori Yanagi

Designed in:  1954

Admirers of organic design will find the Butterfly Stool exceptional. In fact, it is now an icon of modern industrialized Japan. What makes it remarkable is its simple and graceful form, often perceived as a butterfly or a pair of hands in the act of offering something.  The honesty of the chair's structure (every part of the stool is exposed to scrutiny) was made possible by technology.  Like the Eames Lounge Chair, the furniture can also be easily assembled.

Diamond Chair

Designer: Harry Bertoia

Designed in: 1951-52

Bertoia is known for his wire mesh chairs. The Diamond Chair exploits the inherent qualities of metal, resulting in a beautifully sculpted piece. It is airy and light and does not interfere with space but rather becomes part of space. The authentic Diamond chair is exceptional in form and proportion, which a lot of knock-offs do not achieve. This is probably why even design students can easily spot a fake.    

Egg Chair

Designer: Arne Jacobsen 

Designed in: 1957

This design embodies the qualities of Danish Modern or Organic Modern. The sophisticated Egg chair may be the strongest contender of the Eames Lounge chair for most sought after design classic. One may find the design complicated, but surprisingly reassuring because of Jacobsen's organic and functional design.  The Egg chair has the distinction of being one of the most influential post-war furniture designs that Jacobsen was commissioned to design for the Royal hotel in Copenhagen.

Eames Lounge Chair Wood (LCW), also, Low Chair Wood

Designers: Charles and Ray Eames 

Designed in: 1946

The LCW is considered the 20th century design breakthrough of this husband and wife team. The lounge chair is made of five parts cut from a single sheet of plywood, which is then moulded and bent. The Eameses used the technology for moulding plywood for the design of the chair, which Charles started developing in the early 1940s.  The high demand for this design only proves that it is timeless.  

Marshmallow Sofa

Designers: Irving Harper and George Nelson

Designed in: c.1955

With its playful and colorful round cushions "floating" on a tubular steel frame, the Marshmallow Sofa never fails to capture peoples' attention. But make no mistake, the chair is not merely whimsical-it is also very practical. The cushions can have all the same color or can come in multiple color combinations; they can also be detached for easy cleaning or mixed and matched to create a different look. 

Chair 3107

Designer: Arne Jacobsen

Designed in: 1955

The 3107 is said to be the most copied chair in the world-made popular by the famous 1960s nude portrait of the notorious Christine Keeler of the Profumo scandal (her chair was actually a knock-off). Even our local stores carry knock-offs. The fascination for this design is not difficult to explain. First, the chair can be used in all kinds of interiors, and because it is light and stackable, storing it is not a problem. The design did not sacrifice aesthetics as seen in its graceful, organic form. 

The Chair

Designer: Hans Wegner

Designed in: 1949

Post-WWII Scandinavian designers did not stray far from tradition. Take Wegner, whose experience as a cabinetmaker was put to good use in his mid-century designs. The Chair is a blend of the traditional and the new. It was handmade, which contradicted with the modernist tenets of mass production, but its light and sleek form shows consideration for the needs of Modernist spaces. Furthermore, the proportions were based on the human form. 

Tulip Chair

Designer: Eero Saarinen 

Designed in: 1957

The Tulip chair is one of Saarinen's greatest creations and a classic of industrial design.  It was the result of Saarinen's preoccupation with the underside of typical chairs and tables, which he found very confusing.  The chair with its pedestal base produced a purer form.  Although it was one of the mid-century designs that used fiberglass-reinforced resin, its innovative form makes it a standout until now.       

Womb Chair

Designer: Eero Saarinen

Designed in: 1946

This chair was designed to conform to any relaxed position of the sitter, like drawing up his or her legs, which would be impossible in other chairs. For those who love to snooze, this is your chair! The Womb chair has remained popular because while it was conceived for a casual and comfortable lifestyle, it is chic enough to go well with other contemporary interior styles. 

Reproduction Womb Chair from Dwell


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