A chair seems a simple enough thing. Plonk down on it, read a book, scribble a note; have a chat with a friend. But a good chair is more than just four legs and some cushions: It’s a spot to sit back, relax and let the day’s stressors melt away. Nor do they all have to look the same—nowadays, designers are playing with form more than ever, casting the humble seat in new, interesting, sculptural shapes that command a room. Here, seven designer chairs that deserve the centre stage.
Photo: Courtesy of Minotti
Daiki evokes a midcentury-modern vibe without looking played out. Conceived for Minotti by designer Marcio Kogan, the armchair marries the elegant simplicity of Japanese design with the bold, clean lines of American modernism. The cushions are embedded in a wood shell, which is perched upon metal legs.
With armrests, starting at approx. $11,225; without armrests, starting at approx. $9125; minotti.com
B&B Italia, Do-Maru Armchair
No list of this calibre is complete without the mention of B&B Italia. Here, the Italian label’s small armchair Do-Maru – named after ancient samurai armour – sees painted and decorated thick leather plates that provide the cushioning. Made of a couple of superimposed bodies, the cast aluminium back support gives the chair its conical profile while the support is provided in tubular metal finished in black chromed or pewter painted finishes matching colour options of white, black and tortora available for the body.
The Arp chair’s beauty lies in its simplicity. The piece plays with geometry—at its core, it’s merely three shapes put together—and renders lines and angles in warm, subtle fabrics. Arp is made to be a pleasure to perch upon as well: the back and seat are soft with down (wrapped around a supportive foam core on the seat). In other words, it’s a cosy chair that majors in style.
Trends rise and fall, but mainstays like Billiani’s Corolla armchairnever die. The Italian maker has been crafting chairs for more than 100 years and knows details matter. The Corolla gets a dash of fresh perspective courtesy of new creative director Cristina Celestino, who gave the seat extra interest with a wavy line that wraps around the base. Traditional, but with a new edge.
A backrest, while comfortable, is often an aesthetic afterthought. It’s the star of the show for Nendo’s Kite chair, however, towering over the seat itself. And it’s not just for looks: It lends privacy, closing the sitter off from the world on either side. Designed for Stellar Works with common spaces in offices and hotels in mind, Kite is striking but also plenty functional.
Eileen Gray’s Bibendum armchair combines size and charm into a unique form. Named after the Michelin man, for obvious reasons, the semi-circular design and rolled padding sees a combination of quilting cotton and foam over a frame of chromium-plated steel tubing and a beech frame with rubber webbing in the seat. Available in a number of fabrics – including velvet featured in collections by fashion designer Raf Simons and premium leather – there are few equals.
Wingbacks don’t get much more dramatic than the Hathi by DeMuro Das, a design firm based in New Delhi and New York. Leather upholstery and lacquer-black legs give the cocooning chair a sleek, understated look, a smart juxtaposition to its exaggerated wings—or ears, as DeMuro Das interprets them. “Hathi” is derived from the Hindi word for elephant.