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Iconic Mid-Century Modern Chair Designs

Iconic Mid-Century Modern Chair

AmbienteDirect – Der Barcelona Chair

Iconic Mid-Century Modern Chair Designs

Meet the Author and Your Future Designer: Julio Arco is a passionate architect with years of experience in architecture, interior design, urban design, and housing. He studied at prestigious universities across North America and Europe. 


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Iconic Mid-Century Modern Chair Designs

Timeless Mid-Century Modern Chairs – Introduction Video

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In the post-war era, many new homeowners were looking for a change from the overstuffed and frilly furniture that was more popular decades ago. They wanted something that was both stylish and comfortable, and they found it in mid-century modern furniture.

This new style was characterized by simple lines and a focus on function. Mid-century designers were inspired by a new sense of simplicity, and their pieces reflected this change in attitude. Many of the most popular mid-century designs were those that incorporated both form and function.

In the past, looks were more important than everything else. Sophisticated, utilitarian design with an emphasis on comfort was suddenly all the rage.

Thanks to mass manufacturing, this style of furniture were now more affordable than ever before. As a result, mid-century modern furniture quickly became one of the most popular styles of the era.

Iconic Mid-Century Modern Chairs

There’s something about a mid-century chair that just screams “chic.” Perhaps it’s the clean lines and simple silhouettes. Or maybe it’s the retro vibe that feels both nostalgic and current at the same time.

Whatever the reason, mid-century chairs have been having a moment for years now, and there are no signs of them going out of style anytime soon. If you’re looking to add a little mid-century flair to your home, here are some of the best chairs to consider.

Wassily Chair

Iconic Mid-Century Modern Chair

Hive Modern – Wassily lounge chair

Marcel Breuer’s Wassily chair, which he developed in 1925, became an icon of the mid-century era. The metal frame of a bicycle influenced its design. Breuer came up with this unusual shape while attending the renowned Bauhaus art and design school in Weimar, Germany, which ran from 1919 to 1933.

Wassily Kandinsky, a well-known 20th-century Russian painter, was the inspiration for the chair’s moniker. Kandinsky’s work is characterized by bold colors and abstract shapes, and Breuer’s Wassily chair reflects these same principles.

The sleek lines and simple construction of the chair give it a distinctly modern look, and its enduring popularity attests to its timeless appeal.

Today, the Wassily chair is still in production. It remains one of the most iconic pieces of furniture from the mid-20th century.

The Tulip Chair

Created in 1955, the Tulip chair is an enduring example of mid-century modern design. The brainchild of Finnish-American architect and designer Eero Saarinen, the Tulip chair was part of his groundbreaking Pedestal Collection.

Featuring a sleek fiberglass shell supported by a single aluminum leg, the Tulip chair was designed to appear light and airy, with clean lines that gave it a futuristic flair.

Today, the Tulip chair is beloved for its elegant simplicity and timeless style. Often seen in white, the Tulip chair remains as fresh and modern as when it was first created nearly 60 years ago.

Iconic Mid-Century Modern Chairs

Aram Store – The Saarinen ‘Tulip’ Collection by Knoll International 

Womb Chair

As anyone who has ever curled up in a comfortable chair knows, there is something uniquely calming and reassuring about the experience. And according to Eero Saarinen, this is precisely the effect that he was aiming for with his iconic design.

“The goal,” he once said, “was to create a chair that would allow people to feel safe and comfortable as if they were still in the womb.” To achieve this goal, Saarinen made use of a number of distinctive features, including a high back, wrap-around borders, and arm indentations.

Commonly, there is also a matching footrest, which only adds to the sense of comfort and security. Of course, not all chairs are created equal, and plenty of cheap imitations out there don’t quite capture the same feeling. But if you’re looking for the real thing, there’s only one place to go.

Iconic Mid-Century Modern Chairs

Womb Chair and Ottoman | Rove Concepts Rove Classics Mid-Century Furniture

Cesca Chair

The Cesca chair is one of the most well-known and iconic examples of mid-century modern design. First designed in 1928 by Marcel Breuer, this chair was revolutionary for its time as it was the first tubular steel-framed seat that could be mass-produced.

The Cesca chair is characterized by its low, slightly angled back and lack of arms, though versions with arms are available. This minimalist design provides ergonomic support and gives the illusion that the person sitting in it is “floating” on air. The Cesca chair is available in natural wood and black-framed versions, both of which are classics in their own right.

Whether you’re a fan of mid-century modern design or simply looking for a comfortable and stylish chair, the Cesca chair is a great option.

Iconic Mid-Century Modern Chairs

Ingenio Virtual – Cesca Chair

Panton Chair

The Panton chair, often known as the “Stacking Chair,” was the first chair manufactured entirely of plastic, from start to finish. Undoubtedly, the chair’s design is one of a kind and striking. Panton, a Dane, came up with the S-shaped design in the 1960s. Panton is said to have been inspired by a stack of plastic buckets.

These chairs come in a wide range of colors, including a dazzling silver chrome finish. Get the low-cost imitation here. They’re definitely a throwback piece of furniture! The chairs are fun, funky, and definitely eye-catching – perfect for adding a bit of retro style to your home!

Iconic Mid-Century Modern Chairs – Vitra Panton Chair

Wishbone Chair

The Wishbone chair is a truly remarkable piece of furniture. The chair was designed by Hans Wegner in 1949 and takes its name from its distinctive wishbone-shaped backrest. Wegner was only 25 years old when he designed the chair, but it quickly became one of his most iconic creations.

The Wishbone chair is characterized by its braided rope seat and bent wooden armrests. These features give the chair a unique look that is both elegant and comfortable. The chair is also extraordinarily sturdy, thanks to its combination of wood and rope construction. If you are looking for a beautiful and timeless piece of furniture, the Wishbone Chair is a perfect choice.

Iconic Mid-Century Modern Chairs

Ingenio Virtual – Authentic Wishbone Chair

Eames Lounge Chair

Molded plywood and leather are used to make Eames lounge chairs. In 1956, Charles and Ray Eames created the iconic lounge chair they would go on to popularize. One theory holds that the design was influenced by the baseball glove of a first baseman.

Even though this chair has been around for over half a century, its design is still as relevant as ever. The chair’s unique construction—which features a molded plywood back and seat with leather upholstery—gives it both style and comfort. Additionally, the chair’s simple yet elegant lines make it a timeless classic.

Today, the Eames lounge chair is considered one of the most important pieces of 20th-century furniture design. Thanks to its enduring popularity, it can be found in homes and offices around the world.

Iconic Mid-Century Modern Chairs

Einrichten Design – Eames Lounge Chair & Ottoman

Barcelona Chair

Barcelona chairs are one of the most commonly known and iconic mid-century modern furniture pieces. Though many people falsely attribute the design to famed architect and designer Le Corbusier, the chair was actually designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

The story goes that Knoll, a company that specialized in high-end modern furniture, approached Mies about creating a chair for their exhibit at the 1929 Barcelona International Exhibition. Mies agreed and created a now world-renowned design. The chair is characterized by its simple yet elegant form and its two X-shaped legs.

After the exhibition, Knoll secured the rights to manufacture the chairs and began producing them in 1948. Today, the chairs are still in production and come in a variety of colors, including black, caramel, and white. Thanks to its timeless design, the Barcelona chair remains one of the most popular pieces of mid-century modern furniture.

Iconic Mid-Century Modern Chairs

AmbienteDirect – Der Barcelona Chair

Eames Molded Plastic/Fiberglass Chair

The Eames molded plastic/fiberglass chair is truly an icon of mid-century modern design. Its sleek, stylish lines and comfortable ergonomic design have made it one of the most popular chairs on the market today. But many people don’t realize that the Eames chair was inspired by a much simpler design: the humble seashell.

Like a seashell, the Eames chair has a rounded back and high sides, which provide support and comfort for the sitter. Additionally, the sturdy fiberglass construction of the chair makes it ideal for use in a variety of settings, both indoors and out.

Whether you’re looking for a stylish dining chair or a comfortable office chair, the Eames molded plastic/fiberglass chair is sure to meet your needs.

Iconic Mid-Century Modern Chairs

Ingenio Virtual – Eames Fiberglass Side Chair

Egg Chair

Arne Jacobsen, a Danish furniture designer, created the Egg chair in 1958. His goal was to provide a visually appealing setting for the people who would be spending time there, especially ladies. The result was an egg-shaped chair with a soft, comfortable upholstered seat. The chair’s innovative design made it an instant classic, and it remains one of the most popular mid-century modern chairs today.

A variety of materials can be used to make the Egg chair, including leather, fabric, wool, and even plastic. Additionally, the chair is available in a variety of colors, so you can easily find one that matches your décor. Whether you’re looking for a statement piece or a comfortable place to relax, the Egg chair is sure to meet your needs.

Iconic Mid-Century Modern Chairs – Arne Jacobsen Egg Chair Best Sale

Diamond Chair

The 1952 chair by Harry Bertoia, known as the Diamond chair, is an open-form and metal-style chair influenced by sculptures. The chair’s seat and back are made of diamond wire, while the legs are made of bent steel. Different materials or merely the grid wire might be used for the seats.

Much if it’s functionally sound, adding a cushion will make it even more comfortable. It has also been transformed into a side chair without the side wings, which is more practical. The chair was designed to be used indoors and outdoors, making it versatile and timeless. The Bertoia Diamond Chair is truly a work of art that is both comfortable and stylish.

Iconic Mid-Century Modern Chairs

Hive Modern – Bertoia Small Diamond Chair With Full Cover 

Jeanneret Chair

When Pierre Jeanneret returned from his 1967 trip to India, he was intrigued by how traditional Indian culture and European modernity could coexist. This interest is evident in his “Chandigarh” armchair, which blends European and Indian design elements.

The chair is made of wood and cane, with a flat seat base and v-shaped supports. A braided cane material covers the back and the base of the seat. For added comfort, the chair’s armrests are parallel to its seat. The “Chandigarh” armchair is a striking example of Jeanneret’s ability to create modern and timeless furniture.

Iconic Mid-Century Modern Chairs

Object Embassy – Pierre Jeanneret Design Chair

Platner Armchair

The Platner armchair is one of my favorite mid-century modern chair designs because of its unusual combination of angles and curves. Metal rods support the chair’s seat cushion, backrest, and arms, designed by Warren Platner in 1966.

The design was inspired by the classical architecture of ancient Rome and Greece. The chairs are quite comfortable and have a unique look that would complement any dining area. They are available in gold, black, or silver nickel finishes and come with a variety of upholstery options. I think the Platner armchair is a great option for anyone looking for a stylish and comfortable seating option.

Iconic Mid-Century Modern Chairs

Hive Modern – Platner Arm Chair

Paulistano Chair

The Paulistano lounge chair is one of the most comfortable chairs you will ever sit in. The leather bucket-style seat cradles your body, and the single 17-foot-long bent steel bar gives it just enough structure to support you without being too rigid. The leather or cloth covering is soft and smooth, and the whole chair bends with your body so you can relax in any position.

Paulo Mendes da Rocha came up with the concept for this chair, and it is clear that he put a lot of thought into its design. This is a chair that is built to last, but it also has a timeless style that will never go out of fashion. If you are looking for a lounge chair that is both comfortable and stylish, the Paulistano should be at the top of your list.

Iconic Mid-Century Modern Chairs

Salone del Mobile – Paulistano

Ball Chair

Eero Aarnio is a Finnish interior designer who graduated from the Institute of Industrial Arts in Helsinki. He is most well-known for his innovative designs, such as the Ball chair and the Bubble chair. The Ball chair was designed in 1963 and was inspired by Aarnio’s wife’s comfort.

The chair is sliced in half, creating a circular cocoon, providing space for a person to sit comfortably within the chair. The Bubble chair is similar to the Ball chair but may be hung from the ceiling instead of sitting on the floor. Both chairs are unique designs that have been inspired by Aarnio’s creative vision.

Iconic Mid-Century Modern Chairs

Eero Aarnio Originals – The Ball Chair | Eero Aarnio Originals

Shell Chair

The Shell chair is one of the most iconic pieces of mid-century modern furniture. Designed by Hans Wegner in 1963, the chair is a perfect example of a form meeting function. The seat, which is made from softly curving wood, is comfortable yet stylish. The three-legged design makes the chair stable and sturdy, while the basic back provides support.

Over time, the Shell chair has come to symbolize the creativity of Wegner and the mid-century modern movement. Today, it remains a popular choice for those who want to add a touch of style to their home. 

Iconic Mid-Century Modern Chairs

Myran – Scandinavian Design – CH07 Shell Chair

Easy Chair

Hans Wegner’s CH25 design is a hallmark of functionalism. The chair’s innate elegance is evident in its lines. When it comes to seats, woven or cushioned options are available. In its trademark form, the chair is uncluttered and understated. The “Easy Chair” is a fitting name for it.

The chair was first produced in the 1950s and has been in production ever since. It is a classic example of mid-century modern design. The CH25 is made from oak or walnut and upholstered in leather or fabric. It is a versatile and comfortable chair that will last for generations.

Thanks to its simple design, the CH25 can be used in a variety of settings, from formal living rooms to more casual family rooms. Whether you are looking for a stylish accent piece or a functional piece of furniture, the Hans Wegner CH25 Easy Chair is a great option.

Iconic Mid-Century Modern Chairs

Scandinavia Design – Carl Hansen & Søn – CH25 Lounge Chair – Hans Wegner

The Kangaroo Chair

The Kangaroo chair, designed by Pierre Jeanneret, is a unique and stylish piece of furniture that offers both comfort and visual appeal. The Kangaroo chair is a heated cane chair with a gently reclined back, making it the perfect choice for those who want to relax in style.

The geometric shape of the chair ensures that it will never go out of style, and the Chandigarh style of the chair makes it a statement piece that will stand out in any home. Thanks to its combination of comfort and style, the Kangaroo chair is sure to become a favorite in any home.

Iconic Mid-Century Modern Chairs

Maison Corbeil – Kangaroo, Bouclé Fabric and Wood Chair | Maison Corbeil

Swan Chair

The Swan chair is one of the most instantly recognizable mid-century furniture pieces. Designed by Danish architect Arne Jacobsen in 1958, it was originally created for the Royal Hotel in Copenhagen. The chair is notable for its graceful, organic shape, which is achieved without any straight lines.

This gives it a soft, sculptural quality that makes it both visually arresting and extremely comfortable to sit in. The Swan chair is available in a wide range of colors and materials but is perhaps most commonly seen in classic black leather.

Thanks to its timeless design, the Swan chair can be found in both high-end design galleries and more affordable mass-produced versions.

Whether you are looking for a statement piece or simply a comfortable and stylish place to sit, the Swan chair is an excellent choice.

Iconic Mid-Century Modern Chairs

Danish Modern LA – Arne Jacobsen Leather “Swan” Chairs

Palermo Chair

These chairs are often referred to as Butterfly chairs or BKF chairs because of their unique design. The frame may be slid into the four corner pockets to form a bucket seat.

They collaborated with Le Corbusier’s studio in 1938 on the project, which was built in 1938. It’s one of the most popular boho-inspired mid-century modern chair designs today!

The chairs were originally designed for outdoor use, but their light weight and durability make them just as well suited for indoor use.

They are often found in bedrooms, living rooms, and home offices, and their simple design also makes them easy to fold up and store away when not in use. Whatever your decor style, these chairs are sure to add a touch of whimsy and charm.

Iconic Mid-Century Modern Chairs

The Citizenry – Palermo Butterfly Chair

The Lady Chair

The Marco Zanuso-designed Lady Chair for Arflex in 1950 is a must-have for any stylish living room. The chair is made up of a metal frame with a leather or fabric-covered cushioned seat and backrest. The legs are somewhat splayed and feature rubber tips that prevent them from slipping on the floor.

Zanuso was a pioneer in the use of industrial processes and materials in Italian design, including steel tubing and plastic. As a result, his creations could be mass-produced at a lower cost. It is a typical example of Zanuso’s style mixes practicality with understated elegance.

There are a number of different manufacturers of the chair, which was initially developed by Arflex. Various materials are available for the chair, making it easy to find one that fits your living room’s style. Whether you’re looking for a classic leather chair or something more modern, the Lady Chair is sure to add a touch of elegance to any space.

Iconic Mid-Century Modern Chairs

Curated Interior – The Marco Zanuso Lady Chair


In the middle of the last century, a new generation of designers began to experiment with furniture design. They were influenced by the new materials and manufacturing techniques that were available, as well as the increasing popularity of modernist architecture.

As a result, they created a style of furniture that was very different from anything that had come before. These new designs were much more angular and geometric and often used novel construction methods. These designs were revolutionary for their time, and it has had a lasting impact on furniture design.

Today, mid-century furniture is highly sought-after by collectors and interior designers. These pieces have a timeless appeal and can add a touch of elegance to any room. If you are looking for something unique and stylish, then mid-century furniture is a perfect choice.

Iconic Mid-Century Modern Chair – FAQ

Which is the most iconic mid-century modern lounge chair?

The most iconic mid-century modern lounge chair is the Eames Lounge Chair, designed by Charles and Ray Eames in 1956. Another iconic lounge chair worth mentioning is the Wassily Chair, designed by Marcel Breuer in 1925.

Who was Ray Eames?

Ray Eames was an American design pioneer who, along with her husband Charles Eames, changed the way we think about furniture design.

What is Ray Eames known for?

Ray Eames is probably best known for her work with molded plywood and fiberglass, which she used to create some of the most iconic furniture.

Who designed the panton chair?

Mid-century modern chairs are very famous, especially the panton chair designed by Verner Panton in 1960.

Who designed the Womb chair?

The Womb chair was designed by Eero Saarinen in 1948.

When was the first Womb Chair manufactured?

The first Womb chair was manufactured in 1948 and became a modern furniture design classic. 

Which are the most famous mid-century modern designers?

Some of the most famous mid-century modern designers include Charles and Ray Eames, George Nelson, and Verner Panton.

Who designed the papa bear chair?

The papa bear chair was designed by Hans Wegner in 1950.

Why did Eames design the first plastic fiberglass armchair?

The Eameses initially designed their plastic fiberglass armchair as an entrant in the Museum of Modern Art’s International Competition of Low-Cost Furniture Design which then became a classic chair.

What is the Danish modern style?

Danish modern is a style of simplistically designed furniture and homeware that became popular in the mid-20th century.

Iconic Mid-Century Modern Chair Designs

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M.Arch. Julio Arco
M.Arch. Julio Arco

Bachelor of Architecture - ITESM University
Master of Architecture - McGill University
Architecture in Urban Context Certificate - LDM University
Interior Designer - Havenly
Architecture Professor - ITESM University

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