Design Icons: 7 Modern Chairs

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Written by design quixotic

 I received such positive feedback from the guide I did on  5 Modern Designs You Should Know About, I thought another iconic furniture guide was in order; this time, I’m focussing just on one piece of furniture: The Chair.  

Below are 5 outstanding modern chair designs - all an important piece of design history in their own right.  Many of these chairs (if not all) are in museums around the world, for their historical significance in modern design.
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Barcelona Chair
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Barcelona Chair

1. Barcelona Chair

Designed by Ludwig Mies van der Roh in 1929,  the  Barcelona Chair is one of the most recognised design objects of the last century, and has become an icon in modern design. 
Wassily Chair
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Wassily Chair

2. Wassily Chair

Designed by Marcel Breuer in 1925,  this chair was first and foremost, a result of the Bauhaus movement, but more interestingly- inspired by the designers bicycle!  The marriage of industrial materials with home furnishing materials  is what made this chair historically iconic.
Bertoia Diamond Chair
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Bertoia Diamond Chair

3. Bertoia Diamond Chair

Designed in 1952 by Harry Bertoia, it's no surprise when looking at it, that Bertoia  was also one of the master sculptors of the last century. The shape, and play on space, shadow and light, make  this chair a truly beautiful object of modern design history.
Tulip Arm Chair
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Tulip Arm Chair

4. Tulip Arm Chair

The design of  this chair is attributed to the period of 1953-58. Eero Saarinen, also a sculptor and an architect, wanted to solve the design "problem" of  "ugly, confusing, unrestful world" underneath chairs and tables, or, "the slum of legs."  There is also a beautiful table component to this chair - the  Tulip Table, (mentioned in a previous guide).
Eames Lounge & Ottoman
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Eames Lounge & Ottoman

5. Eames Lounge & Ottoman

Designed by Charles and Ray Eames in 1956, this is possibly the most famous  modern chair design, by some of the most famous modern designers. The Eames had ideas about making a better world, one in which things were designed to bring greater pleasure to our lives.  An idea I can get behind!
Shell Chair
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Shell Chair

6. Shell Chair

Designed in 1963 by Danish designer Hans J. Wegner, the  Shell Chair is also often referred to as the "Smiling Chair".  What makes this chair unique? It's use of bent plywood, its 3 legs, and the design goal: to be a beautiful form from all angles. Mission accomplished. 
Swan Chair
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Swan Chair

7. Swan Chair

The  Swan Chair was designed by Arne Jacobsen in 1958, for the  SAS Royal Hotel in Copenhagen, which Jacobsen was also the architect.  The main design focus here is the ability to create an organic shape using one piece of fabric, and one shape.

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