14 iconic vintage chairs
During the 20th century, many iconic pieces of furniture were created: incredible and timeless pieces that still seduce design lovers today.
Today, we propose to discover a selection of 14 vintage chairs that you regularly see in different interiors or films. A nice excuse to bring together Scandinavian, French, American and Italian design in a single slide show!
The Conference Chair by Eero Saarinen (1957)
The vintage Conference chair is also called “Model n°72”. It is one of the most famous pieces by the great designer Eero Saarinen
. The model consists of chrome-plated tubular steel legs on articulated glides. The frame is made of wood with foam padding and can be covered with fabric or leather. The legs vary according to the model: there is a star version and a wooden version. Knoll produced the Conference chair in 1957 and took over production of the chair in 2004, and is still the official publisher of the model.
” Discover all of Eero Saarinen’s pieces
The Tulip Chair by Eero Saarinen (1956)
The Tulip chair has only one leg. This is due to Eero Saarinen’s aesthetic desire to avoid the multiple legs of the chairs created in the 1940s and 1950s
. This model consists of a lacquered fibreglass shell, a removable foam cushion covered with fabric, skai or leather. The base is made of cast aluminium coated with Rilsan. Knoll is the sole publisher of the Tulip chair since its creation in 1956.
The Tonneau Chair by Pierre Guariche (1954)
Pierre Guariche is one of the most famous French designers of the 20th century. The Tonneau chair is a particularly well-known model. It consists of a raw wooden shell with a small window and a metal or wooden base. The model was published by Steiner in 1954. If you are curious about the history of this beautiful chair, please read our article
The Plastic Chair by Charles & Ray Eames (1948-1950)
The Plastic Chair is one of the most famous chairs in design. It is available in different versions, with several models of fibreglass shells and legs. If you want to learn more about this key model of 20th century design, we suggest you read our article
dedicated to it.
The Superleggera chair by Gio Ponti (1956)
, in designing the Superleggera model, wanted to create the lightest chair possible. This piece is inspired by the 19th century Chiavari model. The structure is made of solid ash wood with a natural finish that can be stained walnut or lacquered black or white. The seat can be made of rustic straw or Indian cane (model 699) or it can be upholstered and covered with fabric or leather (model 646). Cassina produced the 646 model and the one in rustic straw from 1956 to 1984 and the 699 model from 1956 to the present day.
The Grand Prix (1955), Série 7 (1955) and Fourmi (1951/52) chairs by Arne Jacobsen
The vintage Grand Prix chair was designed for the Designer’s Spring Fair at the Danish Museum of Art & Design in Copenhagen. It won first prize at the Milan Triennial, which is why the model is commonly referred to as Grand Prix. The piece has wooden or chrome-plated steel legs. The seat is made of raw or lacquered moulded wood. It is possible to find a rarer version with leather upholstery. Fritz Hans has been the official publisher of the chair since 1955 (the wooden leg version is no longer produced).
‘s Series 7 is the most copied chair in the world. Functional because it is stackable and representative of Danish style, its curves are timeless and appeal to everyone. The seat consists of a moulded plywood shell with a beech, teak or painted finish on a bent, painted or chrome-plated tubular steel base. The glides can be rubber or on castors. There is also a leather upholstered version for this model. The Series 7 chair has been produced by Fritz Hansen since 1955.
The Ant chair is also an attractive piece by designer Arne Jacobsen. It consists of a moulded plywood shell with a steck or painted finish. The base can have three or four legs, in painted, chromed or plastic-coated steel. The glides are in rubber. This model has been produced by Fritz Hansen since 1952.
The Treilli or Beaubourg chair by Michel Cadestin (1977)
The vintage Treilli chair was specially designed for the Beaubourg centre, hence the nickname often given to it. It is a mythical piece of design with its unique and original curves. Its surprising design is explained by its wire structure and the leather cover. The model was published by Teda in 1988. Since 1998, Galerie Riedel is the official publisher.
The Panton Chair by Verner Panton (1959/1960)
The Panton chair is certainly one of the most famous pieces of 20th century design. This avant-garde model is distinguished by its functionality: it can be stacked because it is made of a single plastic block. Its design and colours give it a unique and timeless style. Originally produced by Herman Miller, Vitra is now the official manufacturer of the Panton chair.
The Bertoïa chair by Harry Bertoïa (1952)
The Bertoïa chair is a design legend. It is not uncommon to see it in beautiful interiors, amidst 20th century design and vintage furniture. The comfort of this model can be accentuated by a foam cover covered with fabric or skai. This model has been produced by Knoll since 1955. Note that the children’s version is no longer produced.
The School chair by Ron Arad (1987)
Ron Arad’s pieces are known for their originality. The School chair is representative of the designer’s unique and intriguing style. This model has a raw or lacquered aluminium frame, the seat can sometimes be upholstered with rubber. Published by Vitra in 1987, it is no longer available.
The CM 131 chair by Pierre Paulin (1953)
Pierre Paulin has designed many iconic pieces that are particularly appealing. The CM 131 chair is one of his successes. The shell is made of moulded plywood, bolted to a lacquered tubular steel base. This vintage model was published by Thonet in 1953, but is no longer available.
The Meribel chair by Charlotte Perriand (circa 1950)
Charlotte Perriand is one of the most famous designers of the 20th century. She designed a large number of models that are now legendary and highly sought after. The vintage Meribel chair was designed for winter sports resorts. The structure is in solid wood and the seat is in straw. This model was published by Steph Simon and then by Sentou. It is no longer manufactured.