Seating In The Change Of Its Time – The Top Ten Of The Designs Of The 20th Century

Chairs have a function serving the people. You should wear it, be as comfortable and visually appealing. While the individual design of requirements is subject to the respective taste of their time, concerning forms, colours and materials. Seating was limited, in the 19th century with regard to their choice of material on Woods, natural fibres and fabrics the question took up a wider space according to the materials to be used in the discourses of young, aspiring furniture designer of the early 20th century. The range of materials is opened for completely new materials such as metals and plastics.

The desire was selected for functionality to the paradigm of a young Guild, articulated in a more schrilleren design language. She wanted to on the one hand to attract attention and provoke it to some extent, but not lose their eye for the essentials – a functionality in the service of the user -.

The author has devoted the following fact sheet-like the most notable from his perspective of ten design in the seating area, without thereby wanting to raise a claim on completeness. In addition, no universal validity with respect to the selection is claimed. The order is chronological nature pure and represents no scoring.

The red-blue Chair (Rood blue West oil), Gerrit Rietveld (1917)

fig. 2 wooden chair seating

Specifications: Simple design, low-cost manufacturing, cheaper price
Idea: Simple language of forms of and an open structure; Thoroughness in terms of functionality and material. Overcoming shape-space issues
Execution: slatted design from 13 massive square timbers and two slats in beech; Seat and backrest made of plywood; Gluing wood dowels
Character: Strict geometry with vertical and horizontal lines
Production: More execution with side panels under the arms of 1918; first colour version in 1923 in the primary colors of red, blue and yellow.

(red back, blue seat, black bars, yellow front points); followed by other variants in the composition; is made today by the Milan company Cassina S.p.a.. in the red/blue/yellow/black, which holds the exclusive rights to replicas

Quote: “the design helps to put the pieces together without maim them, without that one dominates the other, so that eventually the whole thing clear and free in the area and the material emphasizes the form”. (Rietveld)

The Wassily Chair, Marcel Breuer (1926)

Wassily Chair Marcel Breuer chrome leather seating

Specifications: Design for the Bauhaus
Idea: Fusion of art and technology into a formal unit (Bauhaus)
Execution: Combination of elaborately shaped frame with a leather covering; Frame from shaped seamless steel pipes
Character: An airy habit through open leather upholstery as a replacement for a closed back and seat. clear language of form, according to Rietveld of functional practicality (more blog see)
Production: Since the end of the 20s, interrupted by the second world war; Recovery is Knoll international after the war until today, licensee
Significance: One of the first designs of furniture, the material steel pipe uses

Of Barcelona-Chair, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1929)

seating barcelona Chair orange mies van the raw

Specifications: Designed in the Weimar Government for the German Pavilion of the world exhibition in 1929 in Barcelona; should appear as a seat for the Spanish Royal couple at the official opening of the building elegant and Royal
Design: Frame made of chrome-plated stainless steel, that is sanded and polished until today by hand; Cushions are made of 40 square leather segments that individually are sewn by hand with the frame and by Handmade Leather buttons are divided; Seat and back cushions are attached to the frame of the Chair with eight leather straps
Character: scissor Chair of simple, timeless elegance by reduction to the essential – a wide angled towards the rear seat on a lightweight, curved x-shaped frame
Production: Initial, elaborate production by the company metal-working Josef Müller in Berlin; New Edition after the war; Transfer of exclusive rights in 1953 to Knoll international; uninterrupted production in hand work to date

La chaise, Charles and Ray Eames (1948)

seating la chaise Charles Ray Eames

Specifications: a contribution for the competition “Low Cost Furniture Design” of the Museum of modern art made in New York (1948);
Idea: Inspired by the bronze sculpture “Floating Figure” (nude) by sculptor Gaston Lachaise (1927); Seating should implement the theme of the novel material plastic in the shape of a Chair
Execution: Originally molded, suspended between two layers of plastic hard rubber seats. two together bonded fiber glass bowls rest on five tubular steel struts that are embedded in a wooden floor cross;
Character: Raumausgreifender, sculptural Habitus; flowing, curved shapes; Recess in the back segment should emphasise the lightness of the shape
Production: long considered a too elaborate for a production undertaking; manufactured until 1990 under license from the Swiss company Vitra series
Significance: First seating furniture made of plastic

The Antmodel 3101, prototype for the series 7, Arne Jacobsen (1951)

Jacobsen Chair Ant

Requirements: Inexpensive and suitable for mass production. Design for a canteen of the Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk; based on the requirements of ray and Charles Eames, who experimented since 1945 with the new material plywood and its deformation
Idea: Bending of laminated veneered panels under the action of hot water vapour in novel ways; simple construction principle by reduction to a few components; Stackability
Version: seat shell made of a single piece of glued laminated wood, consisting of nine layers. Reinforcement of the outermost and innermost layers with incorporated cotton fabric; three (model 3100) and later four Chair (model 3101) tubular steel legs
Character: Graceful, figurative style eponymous waist shape of the unit of the seat and backrest; simple, the nature-oriented design language
Production: 7 which went into series production in 1955; paved the way to the series as a prototype Manufacturer: Fritz Hansen, Denmark; Nummer3107 best-selling model in the series; Today it is available with different bases as a bar and swivel chair as well as children’s Chair

Important: Chairs of all time, is now regarded as one of the world’s commercially most successful one of the first chairs in repetitive manufacturing with a seat from a single piece of plywood

The TulipChair (pedestal collection), Eero Saarinen (1955)

Chair tulip chair eero saarinen

Specifications: Experimenting with fiberglass new material; Designing completely new seating furniture
Idea: Creating flowing, slender shapes; Avoid optical unrest by too much on Chair and table legs; Creation of a harmonious unity of table and Chair; Furniture should be made as far as possible from one piece
Execution: Two-piece design from a form-pressed, glass-reinforced plastic shell and a base made of plastic coated aluminium; Inner shell with removable seat cushions
Character: formal language (Tulip leaf shape of the shell); borrowed nature flowing, curvy shapes
Production: Unchanged until today the company Knoll international as a licensee
Significance: First chair with just a furniture leg and seat together fused to a unit and foot
Quote: “every significant piece of furniture from the past has a holistic structure” (Eero Saarinen, source:

The Lounge Chair (Eames Lounge, 670), Charles and Ray Eames (1956)

seating furniture of eames lounge chair

Specifications: Creation of a contemporary version of the traditional, British Club Chair as a birthday present for the mutual friend and Director Billy Wilder
Idea: Combination of seat comfort with finest workmanship and a generous dimensioning
Execution: Composition of three now seven-layer laminated wood shells in the head, back and seat area. Turnable; two identical, removable leather pillow back area; identical leather cushions in the seat area of the Chair and of the Ottomans to orderable
Character: its desired orientation as luxurious, comfortable seating achieved through exclusive use of high-grade materials and comfortable place wealth
Production: Production since 1956 by the American furniture manufacturer Hermann Miller, Inc., Zeeland, Michigan and later by the Swiss Vitra AG for the European market; only minor construction modifications over the decades; Standard version in Cherry, Santos Palisander, Walnut pigmented black or white and black ash. can be combined with different shades
Significance: First draft Eames’ in the high price segment
Quote: “the Chair should have the warm, welcoming atmosphere of a used baseball catching glove” (Charles Eames, see com)

The “ConeChair” (Kraemmerhusstole K1), Verner Panton (1958)

image 9 of the cone chair seating verner Panton

Specifications: Design of Club chairs for the new-to-grow and to adapt Danish restaurant “Kom igen”, the destination restaurant of his father
Idea: Create a new Club Chair, which, as – should combine geometric shapes and functionality

Execution: Semi-circular raised padded Shell to the back and arm recording on swivel base made of stainless steel; coated base; Polyurethane foam upholstery with seat cushion
Character: Based on the geometric basic shape of a cone
Production: since 1959 by the Danish company plus-linje. since 1967 by the Swiss Vitra AG; Upholstery in 13 colors available
Significance: First by Verner Panton designed seating the cone Chair series “K”; First series furniture, its upholstery fabric in the color red was available; Anticipated art elements of pop

The Panton Chair, Verner Panton (1960)

chair Panton chair red plastic

Target: Development of a new design language with the help of new materials and manufacturing methods
Idea: Plastic chair without back legs; perspective-dependent, multi stylistic appearance
Execution: Two variants, either painted foam plastic shell (“Panton classic”) or polypropylene, dyed through (“Panton”, 1999)
Character: Striking, Z-shaped curved silhouette; sculptural Habitus
Production: launch of 1967; can but only since 1999 are produced according to his basic idea as dyed through polypropylene variant of Vitra AG; currently six color variations
Significance: First manufactured from one piece, free floating plastic chair; stands for the flashy colorful plastic faith of the 60s

The ball Chair (GlobeChair), Eero AARNIO (1963)

seating furniture chair white green eero aarnio ball

Target: Design of seating from plastic as “Space in the room”; Shielding of the person sitting unwanted noise in the environment; Creating an undisturbed privacy
Idea: Realization by means of the simplest geometric basic shape – the ball; Disconnecting a ball section, fixation at a fixed point in space and design as a living area in the padded Interior
Execution: fiberglass enclosure on a rotating 360 degrees rotating steel base; Interior upholstery fabric or leather
Character: shapes language round without corners and edges of the nature inspired; Unconventional design as “space capsule to myxomycete”
Production: Presentation in 1966 at the international furniture fair in Cologne, Germany; Production from the outset in Finland; Since 1990 exclusive marketing and distribution of the fiber glass collection by Adelta international in Dinslaken; currently four enclosures and six upholstered colours selectable
Meaning: Futuristic representatives of space age design; Embodiment of plastic pop music of the 60s and 70s years (source: Washington Post); Breaking with traditional design conventions


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