Modern & Mid-century Design Furniture
Chairs Design

The 10 Best Iconic Chairs Ever Designed

“A good chair, nowadays, is hard to find,” said one of the old advertisements for the Eames Lounge chair. But what makes a good chair? To us, a good chair is one that is comfortable but doesn’t compromise on design. We would like to share our favourite iconic chairs, from the hands of Arne Jacobsen to Marcel Breuer. These iconic chairs have made it through the ages and are still loved by many today! Standing out for their immaculate design, these chairs are your starting point.

1. Eames Lounge Chair

Let’s start with a big, bold iconic chair, you could have guessed it: the Eames lounge chair by Charles and Ray Eames. There is no equivalent to this chaise, it hits all competitors out of the field (except for the Chaise Longue by Corbusier? but that one is in a category of its own!)

Line-Thit-Klein top chair designs eames lounge chair cultfurniture

The instantly-recognisable Eames lounge chair was designed in 1956 by husband-and-wife team Charles and Ray Eames. They did not aim to make a designer classic, their goal was to simply improve existing lounge chairs. To make a lounge chair that is comfortable first and foremost and one that ‘fits like a glove’ (they wanted it to have the same warm look of a baseball glove). Let’s be honest, don’t you just want to grab a book, sit on the cloud-like seat and forget about everything else around you? We know we do!

The Eames lounge chair pictured above is beautifully placed in a home in Copenhagen. Photo by Line Thit Klein and styling by Helen Wiggers.

2. The Eames Chair

But of course! Some may say they are sick and tired of seeing this chair everywhere, but the Eames chair is seen everywhere for good reason. Not only are the chairs comfortable and versatile, they are highly customisable too. Available in many colours and shapes, with a great variety on the base/legs, you can have an Eames chair that suits you. And only you! Go for an Eiffel base or Eames with armrests, use it in your office or at the dining table, it’s all up to you.

It took years for Charles and Ray Eames to perfect the technique and design of the Eames shell chairs and their hard work has definitely paid off.

Industrial Design Favourites: Eames Eiffel chair black

 3. Egg Chair by Arne Jacobsen

The Eames-couple made their first Eames chairs for a competition (on versatile chairs). Arne Jacobsen, however, wanted to create a chair with 1 thing in mind: a bit of privacy in public. Something we all would appreciate nowadays!

The Egg chair is a chair straight outta Copenhagen, where Jacobsen designed it in 1958. It was purpose-designed for use in a hotel (Radisson SAS), but thanks to its iconic, unforgettable shape, it reached the masses.

Below a stunning photo from Nina Holst from Stylizimo. Perfection!

egg chair arne jacobsen

4. The Standard Chair by Jean Prouvé

We’d like to make this standard: uncomplicated, solid design with a perfect industrial vibe. From one of our round-up posts:

“Prouvé was an engineer, architect, ironworker and overall a very talented person with a great eye for detail. In 1931, Prouvé opened his own atelier, Ateliers Jean Prouvé, where he worked with other great designers and architects. Think of great names like Charlotte Perriand and Le Corbusier.” Read more here 

Photo by Sean Fennesy.

10 best chairs standard chair jean prouve

5. Wishbone Chair by Hans J. Wegner

It’s one of those chairs that you cannot help but love and appreciate. Its craftsmanship and beautiful design are timeless; designed by Hans Jørgensen in 1949 and it has been in production ever since. The Wishbone chair may be one of his most famous chair designs. And considering the fact he designed over hundreds(!) of chairs in his lifetime, that’s saying something!

Photo via Jennifer Kathryn Photography

How to choose the right dining chairs - Dining chairs for a round table: Hans J Wegner wishbone chairs

Jean Prouve cultfurniture

Wishbone chair by Hans Wegner & Standard chair by Jean Prouvé. AD

6. CH88 by Hans J. Wegner

It shouldn’t come as a surprise then that we have two chairs by Hans Wegner in our top 10. Wegner designed the sophisticated CH88 chair in 1955 but it was never put into production until today. It’s a bare beauty.

Image by A Merry Mishap.

hans wegner ch88 stacking chair cult furniture

7. Ghost Chairs by Philippe Starck

It’s a chair that could be listed in the top 10 most ironic chairs ever made: the Ghost Chair by Philippe Starck. Designed in 2002, this chair is the youngest chair featured in our top ten and one that’s easily overlooked. Or well, looked through. These chairs are perfect for elegant small homes or for anyone who likes a tongue-in-cheek, fun twist to a chair. Well done, Philippe!

Ghost chairs

 8. Paulistano chair by Paulo Mendes da Rocha

Let’s go back in time again. This time, we go back to Brazil, 1957, when Paulo Mendes da Rocha designed the Paulistano chair. Its simplicity and airiness is what makes this chair stand out from the crowd. Originally made for use in the Paulistano Athletics Club, Essay Writing, Sao Paulo. Image via Bodie and Fou.

Bodie & Fou Paulisto

 9. Cherner chair by Norman Cherner

We’re almost at the end of the list! Of course we had to sneak in this chair by Norman Cherner. A true beauty designed in 1958, one year after the Paulistano chair. It’s remarkable to see the different styles designers were playing around with, and the amazing chairs that came forth out of it. Norman Cherner was greatly influenced by the Bauhaus Movement, and worked in the arts industry for years. The Cherner chair is one of the beautiful outcomes of his work and inspirations.

cherner chair cult furniture

10. The Wassily Chair – Marcel Breuer

And finally, one of the oldest chairs in our list, one that set many trends and was an inspiration to all: the Wassily chair by Marcel Breuer. Designed in 1925-1926(!) the Wassily chair is one of the most iconic chairs ever made. It’s actually called the Model B3 chair, not Wassily, which was a name given to the chair years later when it was being reproduced.

Inspired by the solid, near-perfect design of bikes that hardly need any chance at all, Breuer began experimenting with bent tubular steel. And this sleek chair was the outcome. Via Knoll.


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  • Lejla September 1, 2015 at 1:16 pm

    You forgot REX chair by Niko Kralj 😉

    • Cult Furniture September 3, 2015 at 10:05 pm

      Great addition, so many more that can be added to the list! Thanks for your input! : )