The Nesting Magpie

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Iconic Design; Midcentury Side Chairs

Bertoia Side Chair, Bertoia Rilsan, 1950. 
"To me, the Bertoia is like a little black dress in a woman's wardrobe: universal, timeless and absolutely necessary."- Christophe Pillet, Italian designer. High praise, considering this iconic chair is actually the result of an experiment in, what the cool kids call, practical art (I must remember that one..). The frame of this chair is built from welded steel in either polished chrome or bonded Rislan finish, but the key material in this design is.. nothing?  "If you look at these chairs, they are mainly made of air, like sculpture. Space passes through them" said Bertoia. In 1962, the chair was awarded the Certificate of Merit by the American Institute of Architects and the Design Centre Stuttgart Award. Pretty convincing.

Eames DSW Chair (Eiffel Chair), Charles and Ray Eames, 1950.
This particular wooden-legged design is one in a series of chairs with the same seat shell by Charles and Ray Eames. The lightweight but durable polypropylene seat contour minimises pressure points and supports posture. This chair is available in a variety of bright tones, and coordinates with the Eames DAW armchair.

Cherner Classic Walnut Side Chair, Norman Cherner,  1958.
What an testament to what can be done with veneered plywood! Despite its simple design, the slim-waisted back support adds a slight delicacy. Because of its veneered design, this classic has been reproduced in several finishes.

Wishbone Chair, Hans J. Wegner, 1949.
This chair's raw, natural tone combined with its simple steam-bent structure makes it the ultimate in midcentury rustic elegance. It's lightweight, comfortable and its open back allows for circulation and ease of movement. While working on a chair design project in college, my lecturer used to remind me that sometimes the simplest designs derive from the most thought and this bad boy is no exception; more than 100 steps carried out by hand in the production of this chair, and its handcrafted seat is woven from 120 metres of paper cord.

Tulip Chair, Eero Saarinen, 1955.
Eero Saarinen Finnish-American architect-designer claimed this iconic design came to fruition as he wanted to "get rid of the slum of legs". A "slum" indeed!? This chair is very cool, very retro, very Brady Bunch. The moulded fibreglass form is cast on an aluminium base. For both extra comfort and extra jazziness, coloured loose cushions are also available.
Eames LCW Chair, Charles and Ray Eames, 1946.
In typical Eames fashion, this chair is available with either wooden and metal legs. In the greatest of ergonomic wisdom, this chair's moulded wood laminate seat and backrest echoes the shape of the human body.

Tolix A Chair, Xavier Pauchard, 1934.
This chair's industrial design is well suited to both a rustic, country and a sleek, contemporary setting-- which I always think is the beauty of furniture designed to celebrate raw, natural materials. Lightweight, stackable and suitable for outdoors; these chairs are a practical choice for commercial use, such as for cafes. Brightly-painted Tolix chairs are used in Jamie Oliver's Jamie's Italian restaurant here in Dublin, and I can vouch for their comfort!

Panton Chair (S Chair), Verner Panton, 1967.
Another retro polypropylene classic!  This self-supporting chair was one of the first to be made from a single piece of material.


No comments:

Post a Comment