What is the perfect chair? If you ask Scandinavian mid-century designers, it must be a marriage of form and function where both partners value each other as equals. This has to be the winning formula as the most iconic chairs date back to the glory days of Scandinavian Modern when furniture design stars such as Hans Wegner, Verner Panton and Arne Jacobsen (to name a few) forged the majority of pieces we find irresistible today. If you look closely to the most admired homes on Instagram, you will soon recognize many of the classics we will be talking about today.
Will Scandinavian chair icons ever go out of style? We doubt it. A timeless aesthetic and superior craftsmanship promise plenty more trips around the sun for these vintage, culture-shaping beauties, so we might as well do our homework and learn more about the most significant Scandinavian chair designs of all time.
Join us on the walk down the memory lane and get inspired!
The Wishbone or Y chair is probably the most famous design of Hans Wegner. Created for Carl Hansen in 1949, the Wishbone Chair has been in continuous production for more than half a century.
The inspiration for the Wishbone Chair comes from classic portraits of Danish merchants sitting in Ming chairs. A fine example of Wegner’s maxim that “a chair is to have no backside. It should be beautiful from all sides and angles”, the Wishbone Chair is not only a pleasure to use but also pretty astonishing to look at. And a challenge to manufacture, too.
Sensual curves and a pioneering single-form single-material design pushed the Panton S Chair to become one of the most groundbreaking chairs of all time. Created back in the ‘60s, the futuristic Panton S Chair defined the vibrant colour scheme of the era and eventually found its place in almost all modern interior styles.
Perfect for a dining room or a study, the Panton S chair is engineered to be used anywhere, anytime. Light and stackable – just perfect for small space living.
Everyone knows this one, right? A modernist interpretation of a traditional armchair, the Egg is one of those pieces everyone finds irresistible. It was designed by the great architect Arne Jacobsen in 1958 as part of a large project for the Radisson SAS Royal Hotel in Copenhagen and has since become a star of Scandinavian furniture design.
A supreme study in simplicity and grace, the Egg Chair remains to be one of the sexiest armchairs ever produced. Its cocoon-like design offers privacy and makes it a perfect fit for open spaces like lofts and libraries.
One of the widely recognized symbols of the atomic age, Saarinen’s Tulip chair made history as the first one-legged chair ever to be manufactured. This funky pedestal design dates back to 1956 and was meant to be used with a matching dining table. The Tulip Chair is every minimalist’s dream and looks best next to a subtle match that allows it to take all the looks.
One of the most cherished products in the history of furniture design, the Model 60 Stool by Alvar Aalto packs its superior practicality in the most simplistic of forms. This three-legged birch stool can serve as a seat, a side table, a storage or a display surface, and can easily be stacked in a spiralling structure to save space. Thanks to its well thought L-legs, the Model 60 Stool goes away without a complicated supportive framework as the legs can be mounted directly to the underside of the seat.
This beautiful wing-like seat is an art piece designed to interact with its environment. It was created back in 1963, but since it was so ahead of its time, it wasn’t before the end of the twentieth century when it finally got the recognition it deserves.
Designed for the same hotel commission as the Egg Chair, the Swan shows equally superb aesthetic without compromising on the practicality. This modern Scandinavian goddess had turned 60 last year and still feels as fresh as it was on the day when it was first introduced.
The Model 42 Chair is undoubtedly one of the most significant sculptural masterpieces of Scandinavian Modern. Refined enough to become a hero piece even in the most exquisite of interiors, the Model 42 Chair is designed to suit everyone’s taste.
Find out more about Kai Kristiansen – one of the most talented Scandinavian furniture designers of all time.
Designed in 1949 by Hans Wegner, this masterpiece in solid teak became a furniture star after it appeared in the very first televised presidential debate in the history of the USA. Both J.F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon were sitting in The Chairs during the event which made this streamlined round chair not just a symbol of good taste, but power too.
The Globe or Ball Chair was invented in 1963 by Eero Aarnio. Even with half a century behind its back, this unconventional, playfully relaxed chair still feels a bit futuristic today. It is very cosy and snug, just perfect for isolating yourself from wondering eyes.
The Wegner CH25 Easy Chair dates from 1950, yet it’s still a sought after collectible in many modern Scandinavian style homes. Those who appreciate an organic aesthetic feel fond of this casual, but very elegant chair. Made of solid ash and handmade paper rattan, the Easy Chair is just too pretty to fall out of grace.
The Papa Bear Chair (also known as the Teddy Bear) got its name after its embracing form. The very look at its Mid-century curves gives off a feel of an ultimate lounge, but the real experience is just beyond explicable. It just begs to be sat in. When it comes to comfort and relaxation, the Papa Bear Chair keeps a secret no one else can figure out. But Papa won’t tell a soul, so we keep coming back for the hugs.
Designed back in 1957 as Model 3130 Chair, this ambitious design got its more catchy moniker after it won the Grand Prix at the Triennale in Milan. The unusual shape of the backrest is tailored to the human body, so the chair is not only interesting to look at but surprisingly comfortable too.
This premium quality chair is Finn Juhl’s most celebrated work, and it was one of the Danish designs that pioneered the United States. The Model 45 Easy Chair is so refined and elegant in all its masculinity.
The Arne Jacobsen Series 7 (or sometimes referred to as the Butterfly Chair) wrote history as one of the all-time best-selling Scandinavian Modern chairs. Excellent design and fine craftsmanship teamed up to produce this stackable, pressure moulded sliced veneer piece of furniture heaven.
Which one is your favourite?
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