Design History: Get to Know the Stories Behind 3 Iconic Chairs

When it comes to the world of furniture, no category has as many “iconic” designs as the chair. Don’t get us wrong, there are plenty of bed, sofa, and even coffee table designs we love. But when we think “iconic furniture” it’s a chair that comes to mind.

Today we’re sharing the stories behind three of our favorite iconic chairs that are all having a resurgence in popularity today. So have a seat, and get to know the histories behind the Wishbone, Cesca, and Jeanneret chairs.

iconic chair design wishboneIconic Chair #1: The Wishbone Chair

This mid-century chair has been popular for a few years, but we’re seeing it enjoy a newfound popularity. You’ve probably seen the Wishbone chair on display in rooms with a Modern Rustic or Modern Farmhouse style.

The chair was originally designed in 1949 by Danish designer Hans Wegner. Wegner was inspired by Ming Dynasty chairs, and used a similar form for the back and armrests of his Wishbone chair. Wishbone chairs are made of a bentwood frame and a paper cord seat, and their sleek shape beautifully mixes traditional design with a modern form.

iconic chair design cescaIconic Chair #2: The Cesca Chair

First designed in 1928 by Marcel Breuer and named after his daughter Francesca, the Cesca chair is a perfect specimen of minimalist furniture. The caned back and seat add a warm edge to the cool vibe of the chair.

Repopularized in the mid-century, and again in the 1980s, this chair is having a major moment thanks to its blend of a minimal form and and organic materials.

Jeanneret iconic chair designIconic Chair #3: The Jeanneret Chair

These chairs were originally designed by Pierre Jeanneret in the 1950s for a government building in Chandigarh, India. A couple decades later, the building underwent a revamp and the chairs were put into storage or even tossed out completely.

Fast-forward to today, when the mid-century modern trend is starting to run its course, and the Jeanneret chair is poised to step into the spotlight. It’s got a design that feels trendy but a little more edgy than some of the pieces we’ve been seeing in the spotlight (looking at you, Eames chairs) for the last few years.


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  1. […] iconic examples worth considering are the Eames recliner and ottoman or the Jeanneret Chair. There are lots of gorgeous (and affordable) reproductions that make them easily accessible—you […]

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