Choosing Great Design
5 Top Designers pick their favorite chair
The subject this month can be considered subjective, though the baseline for good design should be: function, comfort, quality of materials and beauty of form.
The quintessential modern classic — the Eames lounger and ottoman #670 and 671 — originally designed by Charles Eames and his wife Ray in the late 1940s, and mass-produced by Herman Miller, Inc. in 1956, has got to be my all-time favorite. The Eames chair is the most recognizable and coveted chair in the world.
With its low-slung body upholstered in black leather and expertly crafted molded seat and back of Brazilian rosewood-faced plywood it cradles you in comfort. Still in demand today, it is available in an expanded range of materials. There’s even an all-white version with pearl leather and a white-ash shell to complement lighter, airier interiors.
Janine Thierry Brown, Asid
Janine Brown Interiors/Home Garden Imports
Growing up in Connecticut, our occasional chairs at home were always formal, stiff and velvet (sorry, Mom!). I love the design of the Chase Lounger called Nuevo that comes in solid North American walnut with back and seat in black or grey wool/nylon-blend upholstery. One thing that is so difficult to find is a chair like this that not only looks like a piece of art and sculptural design but one that is comfortable. The two don’t usually go hand in hand.
I have had this Chase chair reupholstered in a nubby orange fabric that is gorgeous. The brighter color plays off the style and curves of the walnut wood. This chair can be featured in your living room leisurely sitting next to the fireplace. It’s also fabulous in a corner of your master bedroom and is handsome enough to sit in your man-cave office. This chair is the perfect combination of art meets comfort and who doesn’t love that?
Michelle Harrison Design
My favorite armchair to incorporate into any room is the classic leather armchair, also known as a club chair. They got this name from their prevalence in gentlemen’s clubs of 19th-century England.
The classic leather armchair today features a poly core cushion wrapped in 100-percent down-proof ticking, a padded tight back, padded arms and exposed hardwood legs that can be stained in a variety of stain colors. Any cushion filled with down will be the most comfortable and luxurious.
Frame construction and quality differs, depending on where you buy. The mark of quality is a frame constructed of select hardwoods with eight-way hand-tied springs.
The scale of this chair is not big, with a typical size around 30-inches wide, 34-inches deep and 34-inches high. The proportions are beautiful. An ottoman can accompany these chairs and then the comfort level goes up several notches.
Cynthia Lambert-Langdon, Allied Member Asid
A well-designed chair is a work of art. One of my favorite chairs, and an important one in any home, is a good dining chair. It needs to have great lines and be a sculpture when it is at rest. When company arrives, it needs to be comfortable, sometimes for many hours. The same chair won’t fill all these needs for everyone, but all dining room chairs require these qualities.
Define your style: traditional, contemporary or somewhere in between. Next consider scale: the chair should complement its surroundings. Most important is comfort.
I like the seat to be padded but not too soft. The back needs a comfortable curve with no rungs to cut into your back. You don’t want the back to slant back too much or your guests will wear their food home or have a tired back. Don’t make the chair cover too slick or your guests are apt to slip right off.
Sandra Wagenaar, Asid
Wagenaar Design Group
My favorite chair is a barrel swivel chair by Lee Industries. I’ve used it in at least six clients’ homes and every time they’ve flipped out on how great it is. Sometimes I use a quad (four) of them in front of the fireplace with a sofa at one end. Another application is in an indoor/outdoor room like a sunroom where you can swivel to the inside fireplace or television and then turn around to face the ocean or backyardI’ve used this chair in velvet upholstery, in a cotton/linen fabric and once with a tangerine leather slipcover that was fabulous. The weight of the leather made it hang just right. I’m getting the itch to redo my own home after five years and just might buy myself some.
Kristin Lomauro-Boom, Allied Member Asid
Kristin Lomauro Interior Design
Expert Advice: By Phyllis Van Doren