In the ’90s, Mies Van der Rohe Barcelona chairs were everywhere. Then it was the Eames lounge chair, and then the Marcel Breuer Cesca chair, and then the Marco Zanuso Lady armchair.…each took a turn in the spotlight. Our obsession with seats didn’t end there though. “The clam chair really had its huge moment in the past couple of years, and real-deal and knockoff versions of the Jeanneret chair are now ubiquitous,” says Hollister Hovey, cofounder of Hovey Design.
Just like Gucci handbags and Manolo Blahnik heels, vintage chairs spike in popularity, and then slowly decline until they’re rediscovered again. So what comes next? Here are the vintage pieces these designers (plus a few others) are excited about right now. Meanwhile, you’ll find us at the flea markets.
Terje Ekstrom Ekstrem Chair
“For less extreme comfort and more sculpture, we love the 1980s Ekstrem Chair by Norwegian designer Terje Ekstrom. It looks like a chubby spider! While they’re not for true lounging, they feel great as conversation chairs and press all the right spots on your back, facilitating very nice posture. We’ve used them in a somewhat obvious Memphis Milano setting, an industrial new development in Red Hook, Brooklyn, and in a classic Park Slope townhouse built in 1920. They make any space feel modern and avant-garde.” —Hollister Hovey, cofounder of Hovey Design
Vibo Vesoul Oak & Rope Side Chairs
“I think most interiors could use a little rope. We love using these vintage Audoux Minet chairs at kitchen tables because not only do they feel casual, but you also don’t have to worry about staining your upholstery.” —Lauren Buxbaum Gordon, partner at Nate Berkus Associates.
Gufram Capitello Chaise Lounge
“My favorite chair right now takes us back to the bold designs popular during the postmodern decades of the ’70s and ’80s: the Capitello by Studio 65. I think these types of pieces are going to make a big comeback over the next few years.” — Jacu Strauss, founder of Lore Studio
Percival Lafer Lounge Chair
“We’re quite obsessed with Brazilian modernist Percival Lafer’s lounge chairs from the 1970s. They look like a deceptively straightforward frame drowned in hockey goalie pads (if they are covered in gorgeous leathers that crackle, weather, and improve with age, that is). Because we’re stagers who mostly just focus on aesthetics, it’s really nice to incorporate a sculptural piece that’s actually wildly comfy (we’re talking La-Z-Boy quality) once in a while. Whenever we have them in stock, we use them in our personal space because nothing feels better.” — Hovey
Hand-Carved French Chairs
“I think brown furniture gets a bad rap, but what people don’t understand is that you need the antique wood for the warmth. I juxtaposed yellow satin and Pucci scarves with the dark frames to breathe life into these side chairs. The result is fresh and bold.” — Sasha Bikoff, interior designer
Rene Prou Chairs
“We recently purchased this pair of Rene Prou chairs for my clients, and they really make the room. They function more as a decorative accessory since we have them flanking a large case piece, but the clients can also easily pull them up to their game table for extra seating.” — Buxbaum Gordon
Warren Platner Armchair
“The Heart Cone chair by Verner Panton and the Platner armchair by Warren Platner are timeless classics that work in a variety of interiors. They add a splash of color or form to any space and have a practical footprint that works with smaller modern living layouts. On top of that, they seem to hold their value well.” — Jacu Strauss, founder of Lore Studio
Milo Baughman Swivel Chairs
“We continue to love Milo Baughman swivel chairs. They can be found in a variety of shapes and sizes, have a timeless profile, and the ability to pivot makes them highly functional. We reupholstered a pair in a textural sheepskin and refinished the bases to blackened steel.” — Leann Conquer, managing partner at ChromaSF
Warren McArthur Aluminum Armchair
“This is a rare Art Deco Machine Age aluminum armchair by designer Warren McArthur, the son of a successful Chicago businessman for whom Frank Lloyd Wright created one of his first ‘moonlight houses.’ It displays McArthur’s signature Streamline Moderne–meets–Machine Age aesthetic, with a painstakingly crafted, multi-piece, anodized aluminum tubular frame over an intricate skeleton of steel support rods. Warren McArthur’s quintessentially American career included designing furniture for his architect brother Albert’s opulent Arizona Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix, designing and patenting the first RV (dubbed the Wonderbus), and designing and producing lightweight seats for bombers during World War II.” — Charlie Ferrer, interior designer
Talk about being in the hot seat.
Discover more trends we’re into right now:
Our 4 Favorite Under-the-Radar Trends in Chairish’s Fall Report
Chintz Is Back and Better Than Ever
The Kitchens of the Moment Have a Midas Touch