Have you ever walked into a furniture store or flipped through a magazine and felt you have seen a particular piece of furniture or lighting fixture a million times before? That is what outstanding product design does – it is all-pervasive, it’s memory stays with you and proves that good design never goes out of style. Whether you are an aficionado of collectible furniture or have a cursory interest in the world of design, take the time to browse this list of iconic furniture styles that have stood the test of time.
Model: Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman
The wood and leather LCW – Lounge Chair Wood, was created by the Eames husband-and-wife team. Their aim was to re-interpret the lounge chair commonly found in American homes, and to provide the “warm receptive look of a first-baseman’s mitt” – in other words, comfort. They succeeded spectacularly, because the design continues to be reproduced to this date.
Model: Arco Floor Lamp
Probably the most imitated design today, the Arco Floor Lamp knocked the ball out of the park with its simple yet effective design. A brief to create an overhead light that eschewed the need of wiring it to the ceiling, resulted in a composite design of a heavy marble base, an over-arching steel stem and an unassuming ball-like shade; a design that changed the world of lighting forever.
Model: Egg Chair
Originally custom-made for the SAS Royal Hotel, Copenhagen, this chair is ubiquitous to airports, lounges and hotel lobbies, validating the idea behind its birth, to give its user privacy while in public spaces … and perfect to swivel away from someone you wish to ignore. The curvy and clever interpretation of the traditional armchair, standing on its distinctive star-like base, was defining of its era and has stood the test of time.
Model: Noguchi Coffee Table
You would not be far wrong for mistaking this masterpiece of product design for a sculpture. Noguchi was a landscape architect, sculptor and furniture designer. Made of three pieces that are completely visible to the eye, the table is the epitome of the idea of clarity. It features a glass tabletop that rests on two interlocking identical base elements, thus creating an organically shaped furniture sculpture.
Model: Barcelona Chair
Mies took the idea for this chair from the X-shaped Roman curule seat and designed it for the German Pavilion at the International Exposition in Barcelona. Its cantilevered frame, forged out of a single piece of steel, and its stunning choice of leather upholstery makes it a classic design.
Model: Bauhaus Nesting SideTables
These modernist tables were a 3D extension of Albers’s two-dimensional artworks called ‘Homage to the Square’. Crafted from acrylic-layered glass and oakwood, these iconic tables, graduating in size in green, yellow, orange and blue, were designed to work independently and interdependently.
Model: LC4 Chaise Longue
Ultimate comfort is what Le Corbusier and colleague Perriand had in mind when they designed this piece that became the archetype of chaise longues. The chair follows the curve of the body while rocking gently, ergonomically combining form and function, earning it its sobriquet ‘the machine to relax in’.
Model: Stool 60
Aalto gave birth to a whole new construction technique with his style of wood-bending intended to replace right-angled joints in wood. The stool’s success lies in its simplicity, based as it is upon three bent legs and a round laminated seat, enabling it to be replicated on a large scale.
Model: Nelson Platform Bench
Nelson’s ‘honest design’ was unapologetically shorn of any frills and fancy; it was all about being honest to its purpose, which was to provide seat and surface, in equal measures. Its clean, rectilinear lines were a precursor to modern-day furniture – and, yes, Ikea.