1. Home

20th Century Contemporary Chairs

5 Contemporary Chairs Destined to Become Classics


These chairs are indicative of particular periods and styles yet their versatility and popularity makes it likely that they'll be around for many years to come.


1. Eames Lounger and Ottoman

Eames Chair Image
Herman Miller

When the Herman Miller furniture company released the Eames Lounger and Ottoman in 1956 they had no idea it would go on to become a staple of the interior design industry. A great example of mid-century modern design, it's made of molded plywood and leather and sells for several thousand dollars (the price depends on the age and they type of leather and veneers used). The style is quite posh yet they're incredibly comfortable. Perfect for offices and masculine living rooms or studies, these beauties don't look like they'll be falling out of favor any time soon.


2. Philippe Starck Ghost Chair

Philippe Starck Ghost Chair Image

Philippe Starck's Ghost Chair (originally made for Kartell) should have been a trend. Originally released in 2002, it has a definite postmodern look and mixes the regal lines of the classic Louis XV armchair with the decidedly modern molded polycarbonate material. When they hit the market designers started snatching them up and now, almost a decade later they're still in high demand. As they became more well known people started to appreciate their versatility and practicality. The style makes them well suited for traditional spaces while the material makes them perfect for modern rooms. They're the best possible mix of old and new and since they're resistant to scratches and weather they can be used indoor or out. 


3. Barcelona Chair

Barcelona Chair Image

A lot of people look at Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich's Barcelona Chair and think it's very trendy. But what many people don't know is that it's getting close to being a hundred years old (it was designed 1n 1929). It's been through a few changes over the years but the basic design has remained the same. It's made of leather and stainless steel and is very well suited to modern spaces. That said, it has a versatility that makes it popular with people who like eclectic decorating as well. It mixes well with art deco and art nouveau and can even be integrated in more traditional rooms. Best of all, it's very comfortable.


4. Emeco Navy Chair

Emeco Navy Chair Image

The Emeco Navy Chair originated in the 1940s when it was designed for the navy for use on warships. Made from 80% recycled aluminum, the Navy chair has since become an icon of American design. It's simple, sturdy and stylish. It's also practical – the navy chair is resistant to damage and is designed to last 150 years (it comes with a lifetime guarantee).  While it doesn't work particularly well in old-world spaces, it's great in contemporary kitchens, dining rooms and offices.  


5. Eames Molded Plywood Chair

Eames Plywood Chair Image
Herman Miller

In 1999 Time magazine named Charles and Ray Eames's Molded Plywood Chair as the "Design of the Century."  They were originally designed in 1946 for Herman Miller but they've been copied many times over since then. The simple yet fluid design is directly related to the form of the human body which makes them very comfortable. Despite their mid-century modern style, they work with a variety of other furnishings and will likely remain popular for many years to come.


©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.