The 11 most desirable chairs of all time

A designer chair is top of every stylish homeowner's lust list. Here's the best of the best...

As any self respecting design aficionado knows, a designer chair is the ultimate
design accessory. From Eames to Conran, Matthew Hilton to Starck,
designers have long relished the opportunity make an art out of way more
more than simply adding four legs to a seat. But once you’ve saved up
your hard-earned, which one should you choose to have in your home? Take
your pick from our round-up of the 10 most desirable of all time. In no
particular order…

1.

Eiffel chair

The clue to the name of Charles Eames’ dining room classic is in the frame – a chrome base inspired by the Parisian landmark. The moulded plastic seat of the DSR Plastic Side Chair comes in a great range of colours, so it’s unsurprisingly been reinvented many times. Much copied, there’s none better than the original, which can be picked up from Aram store.

2.

Egg chair

There’s no doubt about it, the 1960s was a golden age for designer chairs. Arne Jacobsen’s Egg, originally designed for the Radisson SAS Hotel in Copenhagen, has gained worldwide fame, or should we say notoriety, particularly when it was the diary room chair in the first series of Big Brother… Pick one up from Fritz Hansen

3.

Barcelona chair

Interesting facts? Not designed by a Dane. Wasn’t launched mid-Century and didn’t involved (much) complex engineering. Or revolutionary new materials. Mies Van De Rohe’s creation for the German Pavilion at the Barcelona Exposition of 1929 has assumed iconic status among the design elite to the extent it’s been much mocked (surely the ultimate seal of approval?).
Also much loved as a waiting room chair of choice – if you’ve visited a therapist/private doctor/lawyer recently, chances are you’ll know what we mean… Knoll is the place to get hold of them.

4.

Louis Ghost Chair

Philippe Starck’s reworking of the Versailles shape, into futuristic clear (or black) injection-moulded polycarbonate caused something of a revolution in the late nineties. Great as a dining room chair as it makes a statement while also being incredibly lightweight. Available from John Lewis.

5.

Series 7

One of the most famous photographs of the 1960s featured notorious call girl Christine Keeler sitting naked astride a (albeit fake)
Series 7. Arne Jacobsen’s bentwood number has had a louche and liberal image ever since. It’s the most widely sold stackable chair in history, being seen everywhere from (very stylish) school halls to smart cafes and bistros. Get one from the Conran Shop.

6.

Tulip Chair

Nothing quite epitomised futuristic whimsy of mid-century designers than Eero Saarinen’s fibreglass-moulded Tulip chair, designed for Knoll. You need proof? It featured on the bridge of Star Trek’s USS Enterprise. No surprise that it’s lived long and prospered. Available from Knoll.

7.

Wishbone CH24 chair

Oh, those Danes. They do know how to design a chair. Hans Wegner’s gently rounded contributiontakes its inspiration from Chinese emperor armchairs (only the red lacquer is reworked in a much cooler blonde wood). Occasionally reinvented in different colours and finishes, nothing beats the original, which is available from Carl Hansen‘s new London showroom
or Geoffrey Drayton.

8.

Panton Chair

What is it with plastic chairs and naked women? The cantilevered Panton S chair, a seamless fusion of engineering and art, is another of those Futuristic gems that came to everyone’s attention when Kate Moss posed on one in her altogether for a Vogue cover back in 1995. Previously, it had been used in the Seventies as a prop for a magazine shoot about ‘How to Undress in front of Your Husband.” Gosh. Available from Vitra

9.

Thonet Bistro chair

Hands up who hasn’t sat in one of these, sipping thoughtfully on a frothy coffee while nibbling on a cheeky pastry? Unique for its time, steam-bent wood was a quite the novelty in 1859 when it first launched. Affordable and practical, it’s since sold millions, being recently reinvented for Muji. Widely available, everywhere from eBay to Nest.

10.

Eames Lounger for Vitra

Charles and Ray Eames’ moulded plywood and leather stunner was conceived to be as warm and receptive as a baseball mitt. And yet over the years it has taken on a more high-end image, featuring as one of the prize possessions of Frasier Crane, TV’s snobbishly style-obsessed psychiatrist. John Lewis sells them.

11.

Ro Chair

Video Of The Week

A relative newcomer to the designer chair pantheon, Jaime Hayón’s armchair, designed for Fritz Hansen, has taken the corporate world by storm, providing luxe hideaway corners in hotel foyers, and office lobbies as well as the front rooms the world over. A modern classic that looks set to run and run, get one from Fritz Hansen itself.

To discover the stories behind other great design classic pieces, click here.

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