Sitting Pretty: A History of Chairs from 1950 until now

Sitting Pretty: A History of Chairs from 1950 until now

Chairs are essential objects of everyday life, and their design has been evolving for centuries. From ornate thrones to minimalist masterpieces, chairs have undergone an incredible transformation. In the modern era, chair design has become a discipline in itself, with designers constantly pushing the boundaries of form, function, and materials. In this article, we will take a brief journey through the history of modern chair design, highlighting a significant chair from each decade from the 1950s to the early 2000s.

The 1950s: The Eames Lounge Chair

The 1950s was a decade of tremendous innovation in furniture design. The Eames Lounge Chair, designed by Charles and Ray Eames in 1956, is a perfect example of this era's design ethos. It was a chair that was designed to be comfortable, functional, and beautiful. The chair's design was inspired by the traditional English club chair, but the Eameses added their touch, using new materials and manufacturing techniques.

The 1960s: The Ball Chair

The 1960s was an era of rebellion and experimentation in art and design. The Ball Chair, designed by Eero Aarnio in 1963, was a product of this culture. The Ball Chair was a spherical chair with a futuristic design that symbolized the optimism and boldness of the era. It was made from fiberglass, a new material at the time, and it had a unique shape that allowed the user to sit inside and feel cocooned.

The 1970s: The Wassily Chair

The 1970s was a decade of minimalism, and the Wassily Chair, designed by Marcel Breuer in 1925, became popular in this era. The chair was named after Wassily Kandinsky, a famous artist who was Breuer's colleague at the Bauhaus. The Wassily Chair was made from tubular steel and leather, and it had a unique shape that was simple yet elegant. It became an icon of modernism and influenced many other designers in the years that followed.

The 1980s: The Panton Chair

The 1980s was an era of excess, and the Panton Chair, designed by Verner Panton in 1960, was a perfect representation of this era. The chair was made from a single piece of molded plastic and had a fluid, organic shape that was bold and eye-catching. The Panton Chair was popularized in the 1980s by its appearance in music videos, films, and fashion shoots. It became an icon of the postmodern era and influenced many designers who followed.

The 1990s: The Ghost Chair

The 1990s was an era of irony, and the Ghost Chair, designed by Philippe Starck in 2002, was a perfect example of this. The chair was made from transparent polycarbonate and had a classic design that referenced Louis XV furniture. The chair was transparent, giving the illusion that it was floating in the air, and it became a popular choice for contemporary interiors. The Ghost Chair was a commentary on the excesses of the past and a nod to the future of design.

The 2000s: The S Chair

The 2000s was an era of sustainability, and the S Chair, designed by Tom Dixon in 2002, was a perfect representation of this. The chair was made from recycled materials, including scrap metal and foam, and had a unique shape that was comfortable and functional. The S Chair was a statement about the importance of recycling and using sustainable materials in design. It was also a reflection of the growing awareness of environmental issues in society.