18 Amazing Mid-Century Modern Chairs

The other day a reader suggested I write an ideabook rounding up a group of the excellent chairs we’ve featured in our Modern Icons series. I believed it was a wonderful idea. I really like it when you help me do my job!

It was enjoyable to revisit the innovations of those designers, from bending plywood, experimentation with new materials and cantilevering tubular steel in gravity-defying ways. They had been making do with what they had during times of war rationing, and showing off the results of the latest technology at international exhibitions and fairs before and following World War II. It’s also fun to notice a few of the connections they had to one another, whether they had been classmates at Cranbrook, Bauhaus colleagues, mentors and protegés or buddies.

Birdseye Design

Wassily Chair
Designer: Marcel Breuer
Year: 1925

These chairs have been credited with being the first to use tubular steel. The idea was inspired by the arrangement of Adler bicycles.

Watch more Wassily Chairs in action

Crisp Architects

B32 Chair a.k.a. Cesca Chair
Designer: Marcel Breuer
Year: 1928

These chairs require the tubular steel’s possibilities to new heights, with an impossible-looking cantilever structure.

Watch more Cesca Chairs in interior layout

LDa Interiors & Architecture

LC2 Chair
Designers: Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret and Charlotte Perriand
Year: 1928

These chairs and their bigger sister, the LC3, were created to be”cushion baskets” of comfort and style.

Watch more LC2 and LC3 chairs in action


Barcelona Chair
Designer: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Year: 1929

Designed due to his German Pavilion at the International Exhibition in Barcelonathis iconic seat with its simple X-base comes in an ottoman/stool and couch/daybed.

Watch more Barcelona Chairs in action

Tom Hurt Architecture

BKF Chair a.k.a. Hardoy Chair a.k.a. Butterfly Chair
Designer: Jorge Ferrari-Hardoy
Year: 1938

An easy framework supports a fabric cover, providing these chairs a light and decorative silhouette.

Watch more Butterfly Chairs in action

BKSK Architects

Risom Lounge Chair
Designer: Jens Risom
Year: 1943

Ingenuity that blossomed from WWII situation is shown best in this seat, which was originally crafted from birch wood and excess parachute straps.

Watch more Risom Lounge Chairs in home design

Feldman Architecture, Inc..

1006 Navy Side Chair
Designer: Unknown, but Philippe Starck has utilized their first designs as inspiration to get more recent Emeco collections.
Year: 1944

These chairs were designed for strength and not necessarily fashion, but they have the ability to have both in spades.

Watch more Navy Chairs in action

Dijeau Poage Construction

Womb Chair
Designer: Eero Saarinen
Year: 1946

This is among the first chairs to Have the natural form during the mid-century motion.

Watch more womb chairs in homes

Tracy Murdock Allied ASID

Eames Molded Plywood Lounge Chair
Designers: Charles and Ray Eames
Year: 1946

Manipulating plywood past its customary shapes was a popular pastime for the Eameses for awhile. The end result is a seat where form follows function with beautiful results.

Watch more Eames Molded Plys in action

Eames Molded Plastic Rocker
Designers: Charles and Ray Eames
Year: 1948

Initially these infants were made with fiberglass, but these days they are made with a more ecofriendly polypropylene. I believe this is the most happy modern icon chair around.

Watch more Molded Plastic Rockers in action


Eames Molded Plastic Side Chair
Designers: Charles and Ray Eames
Year: 1948 (although the version with those wooden dowel legs technically came 2 years after )

This is the more practical of this Molded Plastic Eames chairs, the side seat variant. The chair comes with all these wooden dowel legs, Eiffel legs, simpler metallic legs, and it also comes in an armchair version. The collection shown here is just one of my favourite Eames furniture pictures; thanks so much to Kay for posting it on Houzz.

Watch more Eames Molded Plastic Side Chairs in actions

Eleven Interiors

Saarinen Executive Armchair
Designer: Eero Saarinen
Year: 1950

Saarinen’s Executive Collection started years before, but this model, the Executive Armchair on wooden legs, is a true standout. Because of its beautiful and comfy form, it is more popular today as a dining chair or occasional seat it is as workplace furniture (its first intention).

Watch more Executive Chairs in home interiors

Prideaux Design

Bertoia Diamond Chair
Designer: Harry Bertoia
Year: 1952

Wire Bertoia chairs Aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Whether side-by-side, bar stool or bird, then there is a Bertoia for each room in the house.

(By the way, the ideabook I wrote about these was among my very first, and it’s sort of a stinkbomb, but check it out anyway.)

Paul Anater

Wegner Sawbuck Chair
Designer: Hans J. Wegner
Year: 1952

This is just one of a couple Wegner chairs I piled up for a single ideabook. The Sawbuck Chair is flexible, picturesque and surprisingly comfortable.

Watch more Wegner Chairs in actions, including Wishbone Chairs and also the sought-after Papa Bear Chair

David Churchill – Architectural Photographer

Series 7 Chair
Designer: Arne Jacobsen
Year: 1955

Like many in this set of designers, Arne Jacobsen was an architect that made down to every last detail, including statement-making chairs (we will see a couple more out of him in a minute ). As simple as it seems, the Series 7 has been created to provide comfort. This seat is copied all of the time, but no fake is as comfortable or as beautiful as the first.

Watch more String 7 Seats in action

Peter Tow

Egg Chair
Designer: Arne Jacobsen
Year: 1958

Jacobsen made his Egg Chair as a part of his design for the hotel lobby of this SAS Royal Hotel in Copenhagen.

Watch more egg chairs in action

Baltis Architects

Swan Seat
Designer: Arne Jacobsen
Year: 1958

Jacobsen also made some Cozy Swan Chairs to complement his Egg Chairs at the same hotel lobby. Would not you love to return in time and waltz to the Copenhagen SAS Royal from the late’50s?

Watch more Swan Chairs in action

Rachel Reider Interiors

Cherner Armchair and Cherner Side Chair
Designer: Norman Cherner
Year: 1958

This attractively curved seat went from manufacturing back in the 1970s, but thanks to its fan base of architects and architects, Cherner’s sons started copying them in 1999.

Watch more Cherner Chairs in interior layout

Today, I know I have left some iconic chairs out, so in the Comments section, allow me to know about any chairs you’d like to see here in the future.

Inform us Which of those iconic chairs best reflects your style?

Take a Spin on a Swivel Chair
Totally Tubular Chairs
Fun Furniture: Seats in the Air

See related

Layout Discussion: Just what is a Sofa?

Among many things I love about my occupation is educating customers about interior decorating and enlarging their style vocabularies. Within a chat using a customer I urged that she buy a sofa for the space in her master master suite. Her reply was, “A sofa? What’s that?”

I frequently take it for granted that everybody has exactly the same knowledge of furniture as I do. Making the effort to train my customers and friends about style is similar to talking about a buddy to them. So, again to the inquiry at hand; what’s a sofa? To put it simply, a settee is a little couch that will hold two individuals. Next issue: “Well, is not that a love seat?” My response: Similar, such as, for instance, the more slender cousin of a loveseat. I would like to show you a what I am talking about.

Hugh Jefferson Randolph Architects

Pull your sofa as much as a desk to produce a personal work-space for 2 while you perform alone, or to just have more breathing space.

Alison Giese Interiors

Upholster your furniture in materials to get a look that’s exceptionally versatile. Peacock blue pillows pull on shades from add-ons and the art work, modernizing this sofa that is French.

Kate Byer Home Design

In a bedroom, settees provide an alternate to sitting on the mattress. Make use of this piece to wear a set of sneakers — or provide small visitors who love hanging out in mother’s chamber it.

Ideal for little living spaces, stylish settees prove you’ll be able to save area without giving fashion.

Rachel Reider Interiors

Among my personal favorite uses of a sofa must take an eating area. I really like the inspiration behind a traditional booth changed to operate in a breakfast nook that is residential.

Flaunting nail-head trim and a tufted again, this sofa is a spectacular piece for those which have taste. Carpet is hidden by the zebra and shell-encrusted mirror a DD an eclecticism that is wonderful !

Undeniably and slick elegant, this personalized sofa gives informal chairs in this huge home workplace.

Roger Hirsch Architect

This sofa via swan chair would have been a midcentury contemporary marvel to get a twosome who love the retro appearance within their property.

Do you possess a settee?

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