Because who doesn’t love the classics?
Aside from the Eames lounge chair, the Barcelona chair, designed by German architect and designer Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, a.k.a. Mies, is likely the most recognizable thing to sit on in the world. With it shallow curves and open form, it has an easy, ineffable quality – one that was no doubt painstakingly laboured over. Indeed, Mies, whose portfolio also includes the Toronto-Dominion Centre towers, once remarked, “A chair is a very difficult object. A skyscraper is almost easier.”
Perhaps it’s that deceptive complexity that keeps us going back to the classics. They’re the singular products of sharp minds and innumerable hours of sketching, tweaking and, no doubt, some luck, because even after all that time and effort, for every Barcelona or Eames lounge chair, there must be hundreds, thousands, that never see the light of day. But there are a handful that, while not quite as recognizable, still capture the imagination and, more importantly, have been faithfully re-issued for today’s design lovers. Below, a few of our favourite, less-recognizable classics that you can pick up for yourself.
The Costela Chair
An icon of Brazilian mid-century design, the Costela – which translates to “rib” – was a classic upon release, winning Austrian expat Martin Eisler the prestigious Compasso d’Oro. Italian manufacturer Tacchini’s 2019 reissue has brought the Brazilian icon back to life, rendering it in walnut and matte black metal. See where you can find it here.
The D.153.1 Armchair
Italian architect and designer Gio Ponti designed the D.153.1 in 1953 for a personal project: his home in Milan. Molteni&C has since dug up the original drawings and reissued the laid back lounger, reproducing it with a brass frame and, if so desired, Punteggiato fabric, a reinterpretation of woven velvet Ponti designed for textile manufacturer Rubelli in 1934. Find out where to get it here.
The 720 Lady Chair
Like the Costela chair, the Lady chair, designed by Marco Zanuso and introduced in 1951, proved a winner out of the gate, winning the gold medal at the Triennale di Milano the same year. Its slim metal frame, plush seat and elegant curves were aesthetically in line with other chairs of the time – if superlatively so – but a new spring system featuring reinforced elastic straps was thoroughly ahead of the pack. See where to find Cassina’s re-issue here.