Design Classics

They don't call these chairs classics for nothing. Each is unique, and marries design and quality of style, materials, workmanship and ergonomics to create a masterpiece.

  • By cleaning up what he considered to be the ‘slum of legs’ at the bottom of the ordinary chair, Finnish designer Eero Saarinen came up with Tulip Chair in 1955. Making four legs into one, this is his most recognisable and copied design.
  • Husband and wife design team Charles and Ray Eames designed their unique lounge chair and ottoman in 1957 for the Herman Miller Furniture Company. Sleek, sophisticated and beautifully simple, they are still in the Herman Miller catalogue.
  • Amidst the plastic turmoil of 1950s design, no product emerged with greater impact than Grant Featherston’s Contour Chair. When he absentmindedly twisted and tore a tram ticket, the concept of a chair made from one piece of flat plywood, moulded to fit the natural contours of the body, was born.
  • Roger McLay’s 1948 Kone chair was made using ply off cuts, and is as simple as it is comfy.
  • Gordon Andrews was probably best known for designing Australia’s decimal currency banknotes, but his furniture designs are seriously sexy. His 1950s fibreglass Rondo chair was developed from two flat marine plywood shapes brought together and cemented to a timber spine. Cast aluminium legs were then fastened to the spine.

Most of these classics are still being made under licence, and range in price from $550 to nearly $8,000.

Equipment and Suppliers

Saarinen chair ($2,300) and side table ($985)
263 Liverpool St
Darlinghurst, Sydney
Tel. 9360 2722

Eames lounge and ottoman ($7,600)
Herman Miller
Level 4, 139 Murray Street
Tel. 9549 9522

Featherston chair
(not for sale, but valued at $3,000)
mix [d]
21 Mary Street
Surry Hills
Tel. 9211 2395

Roger McLay Kone chair ($550)
Gordon Andrews Rondo chair ($2,950)
FY2K Mid Century Modern
4 Foster Street
Surry Hills
Tel. 9281 1771

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