World’s Top Five Chair Designers
The mid to late twentieth century has seen numerous advances in both science and technology which provided us with a wide range of modern furniture.
Noteable designers of this period used modern design as a vehicle for social change. Consequently, the furniture designs bore a strong emphasis on durable, functional furniture which could be readily mass produced. New materials, like fiberglass, plastic and chrome, were being used to create a unique line of tables, chairs and sofas. Many of these classic furniture designs are still being produced today.
Yet, these advances would not have been possible without the efforts of forward-thinking architects and designers.
Innovative individuals, such as Charles and Ray Eames, Arne Jacobeson, Le Corbusier, Eileen Gray and Eero Saarinen are now considered being the top chair designers of all time.
Charles and Ray Eames
Charles Eames, Jr. (1907-78) and Bernice “Ray” Eames (née Kaiser) (1912-88) were an American husband and wife design team whose artistic styling represented America’s defining social movements from the economy’s shift from manufacturing goods to producing information, and the globalization of American culture.
Early in their careers, the Eameses’ recognized the American demand for affordable, high-quality furniture.
As a result, their design conveyed an ethos of functionality and affordability.
One of their most memorable creations was the two-piece Eames lounge chair with separate panels for the back and seat, which was unveiled to the public in the mid-1940s. Variations of this design are still being produced in factories around the world for stadiums, airports and schools. They would later go on to pioneer technologies, such as plastic resin chairs, fibreglass and wire mesh chairs designed for Herman Miller. ;
Arne Jacobsen (1902-71) was a Danish architect and designer who was best known for making prototypes for textiles, furniture, wallpaper, etc. Jacobsen’s work has been described as being an invaluable contribution to both modernism and to the specific place the Scandinavian countries had in the modern movement. Jacobsen was known for his numerous contributions towards architectural functionalism, which was reflected in both his buildings and his furniture designs.
Many of Jacobsen’s designs are noted for their sense of proportion which conveyed its own sense of symmetry paired with delicate simplicity. The most notable examples of his work are the ant chair (1952), egg chair (1958), and the Series 7 chairs.
Charles-Édouard Jeanneret (1887-1965) also known as Le Corbusier, was a Swiss designer, urbanist and architect. Le Corbusier began to experiment with furniture design in the late 1920s, after inviting fellow architect, Charlotte Perriand, to join his studio. The duo then began designing furniture according to the principles Le Corbusier had outlined in his book ;L’Art Décoratif d’aujourd’hui ;. Their designs reflected three types of furniture types: type-needs, type-furniture, and human-limb objects.
The initial products of their collaboration produced tubular chrome-plated chairs, and a line of furniture which later became the Salon d’Automne installation. The most well-known of these chairs are the LC-1, LC-2, LC-3 and LC-4.
Kathleen Eileen Moray Gray (1878-1976) was an Irish architect and furniture designer. Gray was born into an aristocratic family and was encouraged to pursue her artistic interests from an early age. She began working with lacquer after having discovered a repair shop in London. Shortly afterward, she began to make lacquered folding screens which were displayed at the Salon des Artistes Décorateurs. The screens received critical acclaim and brought Gray numerous commissions. The most prominent of these commissions was to redecorate a flat in the rue de Lota belonging to Madame Mathieu Lévy.
Gray’s style was strongly influenced by contemporary architecture. As a result, she subsequently began to design minimalistic, functional furniture. Gray designed a majority of the apartment’s carpets, lamps and furniture, including her famous Bidenbum Chair. The Bindenum Chair gained Gray much recognition because of its elegant interpretation of modern aesthetic.
Eero Saarinen (1910-61) was a Finnish American architect and designer who became famous for his ability to change his design style according to the needs of the project. Saarinen first received recognition for his furniture design when he received first prize for a chair he created with Charles Eames for the 1940 “Organic Design in Home Furnishings” competition. Saarinen would later go on to design the Tulip chair which was made to match a complementary dining table.
The Tulip chair was considered revolutionary at the time for its futuristic appearance. Many considered the Tulip chair to be “space age” for its use of artificial materials and use of curves. The Tulip chair was also featured on the original ;Star Trek ;(1966-69) television series.
Jonathan is a fan of great design and has written extensively about all modern classics from Eames lounge chairs to Barcelona chairs