A look at 7 distinct furniture designs that have inspired and informed today’s offices, homes, and public spaces through the simplicity and intricacy of modern design.
1. WASSILY CHAIR BY MARCEL BREUER
The Wassily Chair, also known as the Model B3 Chair, was designed by Marcel Breuer in 1925-1926 while he was the head of the cabinet-making workshop at the Bauhaus, in Dessau, Germany. Though patent designs are expired, the trademark name rights to the design are owned by Knoll while many other manufactured have reproduced and placed it on the market under different names.
2. ARCO FLOOR LAMP BY FLOS
Clearly exhibiting “form follows function”, the Arco Floor Lamp is a staple to modern design. First produced in 1962, by the Italian brothers Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni, and copied around the world to this day. It’s timeless design gave the Arco an adjustable arc and swiveling shade for precise lighting control. It also holds a place in the permanent collection at MoMA.
3. BARCELONA CHAIR BY LUDWIG MIES VAN DER ROHE
Mies is regarded as a pioneer of modern furniture. His style was deceptively simple with clean lines and he used modern materials such as stainless steel and plate glass in his buildings, which he referred to as “skin and bones” architecture. Although many architects and furniture designers of the Bauhaus era were intent on providing well-designed homes and impeccably manufactured furnishings for the “common man,” the Barcelona chair (1929) was an exception. It was designed for the Spanish Royalty. Knoll claims to be the current licensed manufacturer and holder of all trademark rights to the design.
4. GRAND CONFORT CHAIR BY LE CORBUSIER
Grand Confort is a cube-shaped high armchair, whose leather cushions are held in a chrome-plated steel corset. It was designed as a modernist response to the traditional club chair in 1928. It landed a place in the iconic Maxell audio ad of 1979. It also holds a place in the permanent design collection at MoMA.
5. FLORENCE KNOLL SOFA BY FLORENCE KNOLL
Her lounge collection, designed in 1954, is utterly modern and totally timeless, clearly derived from her favorite mentor, Mies van der Rohe. She scaled down the rhythm and details of modern architecture while humanizing them through color and texture. The sofa is still being produced to this day by Knoll.
6. NOGUCHI TABLE BY ISAMU NOGUCHI
The Noguchi table is a piece of modernist furniture first produced in the mid-20th century. Introduced by Herman Miller in 1947, it was designed in the United States by Japanese American artist and industrial designer Isamu Noguchi. The Noguchi table comprises a wooden base composed of two identical curved wood pieces, and a heavy plate glass top.
7. MARSHMALLOW SOFA BY GEORGE NELSON
The Marshmallow Sofa is a modernist sofa produced by the American furniture company Herman Miller, that was originally manufactured between 1956 and 1961. It is considered the most iconic of all modernist sofas. The sofa was designed in two lengths and was reissued in 1980’s as part of the “Herman Miller Classics” line and continues in production today.