I'm imperfect, and I'm in Chicago. The first is because I don't spell check closely and am impulsive (that's always been a problem, sorry). The second is because I'm here for our Big Small Cool Party and Winner Announcement at Room & Board tonight. In the past 24 hours, however, the two things in my mind are two chairs, one is really expensive and one is relatively cheap. I saw them both in NYC yesterday...
The Steelwood Chair is by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec and just came out last year. It's exactly what it says - a combination of stamped steel with wood seat and legs (beech), some of which can be painted. While the combo might sound like a total train wreck of materials, I love these guys and think that they have something really interesting here:
"Unlike most of its plastic siblings, it is aimed to become more delicate through time, acquiring a patina over uses and years." While no plastic chair that I know of costs $530, I really do like the idea of the organic wood getting creaky, while the paint finish wears off of the metal. These really could last 100 years. Imagine a home or cafe where they age gracefully. >> Steelwood Chair
Meanwhile, I stumbled into CB2 to get two lamps for the office and saw these chairs front and center. This is design on a totally different price point (just move the decimal one space to the left - $59), but I was impressed. The Rex Chair is a really comfortable, lightweight and handsome creation that looks like it will last for a good long time. I sat in it. It's very comfortable for hanging out and a little tough for sitting up to eat.
Although the colors are catchy, I liked the grey on silver combo - very cool like the Bouroullec colors - as it allows color to be elsewhere in the room. >> Rex Chair
Whatever your budget, if you're looking for chairs, I would add these to the hunt. On two very different levels, they represent - to me at least - recent success in design.