In the Hot Seat: Iconic Nordic Chairs

With their clean lines and understated elegance, Nordic furniture has always been popular among lovers of modern classic furniture. The sweet spot for modern Nordic furniture was the period between 1933 and 1965, when master designers like Arne Jacobsen, Hans Wegner and Eero Saarinen showed how art and furniture could be married. Their designs were, and are still in high demand today among discerning collectors, and they continue to inspire the works of contemporary furniture makers. The following photo gallery featuring iconic Nordic chairs that testify to the timeless quality of Nordic furniture designed during this golden period.

Drop Chair, by Arne Jacobsen.

This chair was designed by the Danish grandmaster Jacobsen (1902–1971) in the 1950s along with his other classics such as the Swan and Egg chairs. It draws inspiration from the feeling of an embrace.

Panton Chair by Verner Panton

Designed by Panton (1926–1998) in 1960, this was the first modernist chair made completely out of plastic. It was developed for serial production in 1967, in partnership with the Swiss furniture maker Vitra, and was produced in large quantities after 1999.

Tulip Chair by Eero Saarinen

Finnish architect Eero Saarinen (1910–1961) designed the world’s first chair with one leg in the 1950s for American furniture maker Knoll International. He wanted a flowing, slender form to be a perfect foil for the visual chaos that he observed at the time.

Beetle chair by Gamfratesi

The Beetle Chair features a hard exterior but soft interior, drawing inspiration from its namesake’s shape, shell and sutures. The award-winning duo behind the design was Stine Gam from Denmark and Enrico Fratesi from Italy, who unveiled the design at the Mindcraft12 exhibition in Milan in 2012. A year later, it became a runaway success. 

Series 7 chair by Arne Jacobsen

This chair, designed by Jacobsen and sold by Danish furniture maker, Fritz Hansen, is “the most manufactured and sold chair in the history of Fritz Hansen, and perhaps also in furniture history”, according to Daniel Magg of the furniture division of W. Atelier.

Womb chair by Eero Saarinen

After winning the Museum of Art Organic Design Competition in 1941, Finnish designer Eero Saarinen was eager to design a chair that achieved comfort through the shape of its shell, not the depth of its cushion. The result was the Womb Chair, which made its debut in 1948.

Egg chair by Arne Jacobsen

The vivid, flowing curves of the Egg chair designed by Arne Jacobsen is one of the most iconic chairs of all time. Like a sculptor, Jacobsen strived to shape the shell’s perfect form by experimenting with wire and plaster in his garage. The chair was produced in collaboration with Fritz Hansen from 1958, along with the Swan chair, also designed by Jacobsen.

The Swan Chair by Arne Jacobsen

Alongside the Egg chair, Arne Jacobsen designed the Swan chair for the lobby and lounge areas at the SAS Royal Hotel in Copenhagen. Both designs have been in production at Fritz Hansen ever since. In 1958. The Swan – with its total absence of straight lines is built on a moulded shell of synthetic material resting on an aluminium star base, with a layer of cold foam and upholstery covering the shell.

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