July 25, 2009

Happy 80th Birthday, Barcelona!

The chair, not the city. Naturally.

2009 marks the 80th birthday of one of the most influential designs in the 20th Century. Created by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and based on the design of the ancient Egyptian "klismos" chair, the Barcelona chair (along with its descendants and close relatives) has been a steadily popular staple in design.

As long as we're having a party for the Barcelona, I thought we would invite a few other friends. Below are some of my other favorite, beloved chair designs from the 20th century. They have been knocked-off, modified and copied over the years (both well and poorly), but there will never be anything like the originals.

The guest list reads as follows:

First we have the plastic-molded Eames Armchair and the very famous Eames Lounge Chair (modeled after molded plywood leg splints he made for the US Air Force in WWII).
And we are thankful for all of Eero Saarinen's contributions as we consider his Executive Side Chairs (top right), his famous Tulip Chair (left), and his wonderful Womb Chair (bottom right).

We must be careful not to overlook the beauty of Hans Wegner's classics...the Papa Bear Chair (top left...who can resist the aesthetics or the name??), his lovely Wing Chair (right), and his very cool three-legged Shell Chair (center).

And last, but definitely not least, the always weird but wonderful Egg Chair by Arne Jacobsen.

Most of these great chairs can still be purchased new at Hive Modern, Herman Miller, DWR, Knoll, etc, or, of course, can be purchased vintage, but no matter where you find them, you'll pay a pretty penny. These chairs are more than furniture, they have become treasures of design.

Happy 80th, Barcelona!

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