Sure, you know your Mark Rothko from your Jackson Pollock. But when it comes to modern furniture, do you know the classics? Chair design has long been an arena for designers to compete — it’s pretty much the ultimate challenge of form-meets-function. Though most of us think of these designs as “mid-century” pieces, you might be surprised to learn that some of them were created as early as the 1920’s. These ten chairs aren’t just cool looking, they’re highly recognizable and collectible pieces of functional art. Study up on these ten classics (and our favorite knock-offs) to get the designer edge on planning your next swank living room.
featured image by ashley muir bruhn of hither and tither
Eames Lounge and Ottoman
Designed by Charles and Ray Eames, 1956.
Design Within Reach sells the the real thing for $4,859. But you can get a pretty decent Eames Lounge knockoff from LexMod for around $750.
The “BKF” Butterfly Chair
Designed by Jorge Ferrari-Hardoy, 1938.
Circa50 sells the authentic butterfly chairs that you see at places like the Hotel San Jose in Austin and the Parker Hotel in Palm Springs. The original will run you about $450, but CB2 makes a good butterfly replica for $399.
The “LC2” Petite Modele Armchair
Designed by Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret and Charlotte Perriand, 1928.
The “LCW” Eames Molded Plywood Lounge Chair
Designed by Charles and Ray Eames, 1946.
Eero Aarnio Bubble Chair
Designed by Eero Aarnio, 1968.
Saarinen Tulip Chair
Designed by Eero Saarinen, 1956.
Designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, 1929.
Womb Chair and Ottoman
Designed by Eero Saarinen, 1946.
Louis Ghost Chair
Designed by Phillipe Starck, 2002.
Eames Padded Management Chair
Designed by Charles and Ray Eames, 1969.