While other midcentury designers were molding chairs from new materials like steel and plastic, Hans Wegner stuck with a classic — wood. He created many designs in wood, all with modern shapes and a certain timeless appeal. But none have quite the popularity and staying power of the design we now know as the Wishbone Chair.
Fourteen years after Harry Bertoia's collection ofsteel mesh furniture made its debut, there came the Platner chair. Born of a generation embracing a more luxurious, sensual brand of modernism, the Platner chair gave new-school materials an old-school elegance.
You don't often think of scrolled arms and contoured backs as features of modern design, but Thonet's classic "cafe" chairs were light years ahead of their time. Their novelty lay, in part, with Thonet's innovative production methods, which pioneered the use of heat to bend wood into improbable shapes. The resulting chairs were graceful, comfortable and durable. Such lightweight and sculptural designs were entirely novel in the mid-1800s, and a total departure from other bulky, heavy furniture in vogue at the time.
The wire chairs he designed for Knoll show Harry Bertoia at the top of his game — his love of sculpture and knowledge of metalworking and ergonomics came together to create a chair that is lovely from every angle (and even quite comfortable, if you're willing to shell out a little extra for seat pads).
There is so much to love about the Cherner armchair. Let me count the ways. It is elegant and graceful, with twists and curves that are reminiscent of ancient tree roots or undulating sand dunes. At the same time, the chair is a technical masterpiece in furniture making: It seems impossible that anything organic could be bent in such a way without snapping!
You may not have known what to call them, but chances are, if you've been to many restaurants with outdoor seating, you've seen these chairs. The Tolix cafe chair, also known as the Marais A chair, is positively everywhere. It inhabits patios and formal dining rooms alike, aging gracefully and impressing with its timeless style.
Mixing up iconic designs can bring out the best in both styles. This pairing of a tulip table and original Bertoia chairs from Chris and Jenna's Collection in the Castro was achieved by patiently perusing Craigslist. For those of us without patience, we've rounded up resources to make this dining space happen with a few clicks of a mouse.
With the rise of open floor plans, bar stools have taken a more prominent position in the home. Dining tables seem to be going the way of the Dodo in favor of breakfast bars and dining counters. Here's our look at the best bar and counter stools – both with and without backs – on the market today.