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The most iconic chair designs

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The Eames Lounge Chair

Anything that bears the name Eames is synonymous with cool. This designer couple, Charles and Ray Eames, has revolutionised the world of furniture through their iconic and timeless chair designs which have been replicated many times over. The Eames Lounge Chair was designed in 1956 and is still seen as one of the most desirable designs almost 50 years later. This chair makes relaxation look truly chic, after all it was Charles Eames who famously said, “take your pleasure seriously.”

Philippe Starck Ghost Chair

These chairs get their name from their appearance. Fashioned out of clear polycarbonate plastic, the chair is moulded as one piece. It was released by Starck in 2002 and didn’t take long before it became a ‘new’ classic, and today is still being endlessly replicated. Originally released in one shade, Lucite, the chair now comes in a variety of subtle hues. With a hefty price tag ($445, or about R7900) one would think twice before leaving the chair outside, but its robust material means it is able to withstand the elements.

The Standard Chair

First made in 1934 out of steel and wood, Prouve’s Standard Chair has become an interior staple seen in many homes across the globe. Inspired by efficient functional design, The Standard Chair by Jean Prouve is precisely that – functional and efficient. As a self-confessed engineer, the designer, Prouve, understood that chairs take most their stress on their back legs. The chairs front legs are made of tubular steel while the back legs are made of hollow voluminous bent sheet steel sections in order to bear most of the occupant’s weight. As a deliberate design decision, the widest part of the back legs is where they meet the seat, as that is where the greatest amount of stress is concentrated. Although the styling of the chair has a sleek functional Scandi look, Prouve’s design was inspired by the wings of an aircraft.

The Barcelona Chair

More sculptural than functional, the Barcelona Chair is a creation by architect, Mies van der Rohe and his partner Lilly Reich. The chair was first designed as a submission for the German Pavilion at the Barcelona World Fair in 1929 (hence the name), and its iconic design has endured. The first version of the chair was upholstered in ivory-coloured pig skin which was later changed to bovine leather when the chair went into commercial production in 1953. The Barcelona Chair was van der Rohe’s first and last foray into furniture design. Although countless reproductions exist today, only one manufacturer, Knoll, has the legal rights to produce the design.

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