School of Design Chair Collection

InHouse

Our collection was created by the School of Design at Duncan of Jordanstone College, and comprises key works of late 19th and 20th century chair design. As well as their use in teaching, chairs from the collection have been exhibited in a number of venues, including the design company InHouse's festival exhibitions in Edinburgh, such as Take the Chair 2, shown above (please note that only some of the chairs shown above are in our collection).

Please click on one of the boxes on the left to see more.

 

Michael Thonet

Thonet chair  

Designer: Michael Thonet 
c.1855

Description: This is a Bentwood chair, with a wooden frame and a cane seat. 
History: This is a replica of the 1855 design. In 1836, designer and manufacturer, Michael Thonet began experimenting with the manufacture of bent laminated wood seating. The wood was soaked in boiling glue and pressed into moulds. Thonet's experiments in manufacture and design lead to some of the first chairs which could be mass-produced.

 Thonet chair Designer: Michael Thonet
c. 1870
Description: Rocking chair with a dark wooden frame, and cane seat and back.
History: This is a replica of the 1870 design. The rocking chair was relatively unheard of in Europe until Thonet designed this piece. It utilises the same methods of production as the earlier piece on the previous page. 

Charles Rennie Mackintosh

Mackintosh chair

Designer: Charles Rennie Mackintosh
c. 1897
Description: Dining chair with a stained black oak frame. The seat is upholstered in linen.
History: Mackintosh was highly influenced by Celtic and Japanese art. His designs combined cultural tradition and craftsmanship with a very contemporary appearance. This particular chair was reissued by the large Italian furnishing company, Cassina. Interestingly, their versions were somewhat better than the originals.

 Charles Rennie Mackintosh

Designer: Charles Rennie Macintosh
1904
Description: 'Willow chair'. The frame is stained black oak, and the seat is upholstered in linen.
History: Mackintosh's designs for the Willow Tea-rooms in Glasgow were more geometric than his earlier designs. This design was  reissued by the Italian furnishings company Cassina.

Gerrit Rietveld

Rietveld chair  

Designer: Gerrit Rietveld
1918/23
Description: Red-blue chair in painted Beech and Plywood.
History: Gerrit Thomas Rietveld was strongly influenced by the De Stiijl art movement; he became one of its first members when it was founded in 1917 by Theo Van Doesburg and Piet Mondrian.

Marcel Breuer

Breuer chair

Designer: Marcel Breuer
1925
Description: 'Wassily' arm chair. The tubular steel frame is chrome plated, and the seat and back are leather.
History: The 'Wassily' chair was originally named the Club Chair Model B3, but became better known as the 'Wassily' in connection with the artist Wassily Kandinsky who asked Breuer to design a chair for him. It was the first of his designs to use tubular steel.

Breuer chair  

Based on a design by Marcel Breuer
1929
Description: A modern version of the 'Cesca' side chair, with chrome plated tubular steel frame. The seat and back are cane.
History: Breuer is famous for creating designs using plated tubular steel frames, a revolutionary use of materials. Prior to Breuer's use of a metal structure for this interior chair, metal chairs had always been restricted to outdoor use.
The original design had the horizontal base slightly curved in the middle to provide stability. Subsequent copies (such as this version) omitted this for cost reasons, instead adding the less-than-elegant clip-on plastic feet seen here.

Le Corbusier

Le Corbusier chair  

Designer: Le Corbusier
1928
Description: Chaise longue, with a chrome plated tubular steel frame. The steel base is painted and the upholstery is pony skin.
History: Swiss architect Charles-Edouard Jeanneret (a.k.a 'Le Corbusier') is associated with 'modern classicists' Mies Van der Rhoe and Walter Gropius. This design from one of his most noted range which uses tubular steel contrasted with natural materials such as animal skins.

Aalto chair

Designer: Alvar Aalto
1933
Description: Laminated ash cantilever frame, with a canvas webbing seat and back.
History: During the years between the two world wars, designers were keen to exploit new materials and to create simple designs which could easily be mass-produced. Alvar Aalto is one of the most influential designers of this period.

Aalto chair

Designer: Alvar Aalto
1933
Description: Viipuri library chair, with laminated ash legs and plywood seat and back.
History: From the same period as the previous chair.

Wegner chair  

Designer: Hans Wegner
1947
Description: Rocking chair with beech frame and cane seat.
History: This is a replica of the 1870 design. Wegner was determined to maintain craftsmanship in his designs over mass production, an idea which was much respected in 1950's Scandinavian design.

Hans Wegner chair

 

Designer: Hans Wegner
1952
Description: Three legged dining chair, with a teak frame and plywood seat.
History: Although partly machine made, Wegner's stacking chairs appear to be beautifully hand crafted. They were constructed using traditional wood joining techniques, a method which was in keeping with Wegner's craftsmanship over mass production aesthetic.

Wegner chair  

Designer: Hans Wegner
1950
Description: Chair 24, this chair has an oak frame with a woven cord seat.
History: This chair was Wegner's most commercially successful design and is known as the 'Y', or the 'Wishbone' chair.

Ernest Race

Race chair

Designer: Ernest Race
1950
Description: Painted bent steel rod frame, with moulded plywood seat.
History: Race designed the 'Antelope' chair for the 1951 Festival of Britain. The design incorporates a frugal use of materials after the rationing of the Second World War. The spindly legs terminating in ball feet are suggestive of molecular chemistry and nuclear physics imagery, reflecting post-war public interest in these areas.

Harry Bertoia

Bertoia chair

Designer: Harry Bertoia
1952
Description: Steel wire welded shell, with steel rod leg frame, and a white diamond-shaped seat.
History: Sculptor Harry Bertoia was encouraged by Hans and Florence Knoll to design a series of chairs utilizing technology developed during the war. The Diamond chair is unlike any other metal seat design of its period and is still produced today.

Bertoia chair

Designer: Harry Bertoia
1952
Description: Side chair with black steel- wire welded shell, and steel rod leg frame.
History: Sculptor Harry Bertoia was encouraged by Hans and Florence Knoll to design a series of chairs utilizing technology developed during the war.

Jacobsen chair

Designer: Arne Jacobsen
1955
Description: Dining chair 3013, moulded plywood, with chrome steel tube legs.
History: Jacobsen's moulded plywood chairs were influenced by the Charles and Ray Eames' earlier designs. Entitled Series 7, they have been one of the most commercially successful designs ever produced. Designed between 1951 and 1957, these chairs were available in natural wood, coloured finishes or upholstery supported on either three or four metal legs.

Jacobsen chair

Designer: Arne Jacobsen
1955
Description: Dining chair no. 3107, moulded plywood shell, with chrome steel tube legs.
History: One of the best known examples of Jacobsen's Series 7 designs. These chairs are still extremely popular today.

Eero Saarinen

Saarinen chair

Designer: Eero Saarinen
1955-6



Description: Tulip Model No 151 - plastic-coated aluminium base supporting moulded fibreglass shell seat.


History: With his Pedestal Group, Saarinen's aim was create single-material, single-form chairs. Plastics technology at the time did not allow for this, however, and these Tulip chairs were created in two parts, the base being made of aluminium coated in plastic.

Gio Ponti

Ponti chair  

Designer: Gio Ponti
1956
Description: 'Superleggera'. Black ash frame, with rattan cane seat.
History: Gio Ponti's 'Superleggera 699' chair was a timeless design. It took traditional designs from Genoa but employed modern methods to make it light and strong. It has been called the 'consummate chair'.

Charles Eames

 Eames chair

Designer: Charles Eames
1958
Description: Office chair (Aluminium Group). Cast aluminium frame, with polished woollen upholstery.
History: This 1958 design comes from the 'Aluminium Group' which was originally intended for domestic use, but is now used almost exclusively in offices.

 Eames footstool

Designer: Charles Eames
1958
Description: Stool (Aluminium Group). Cast aluminium frame, with polished woollen upholstery.
History: This stool accompanies the chair from Eames' 'Aluminium Group' manufactured from 1958 to the present day.

 Eames chair

Designer: Charles Eames
1956
Description: Lounge chair, with plywood sheets, steel and aluminium connections and black leather upholstery.
History: This design was based on a prototype exhibited in 1940 at the Museum of Modern Art's competition - 'Organic Design in Home Furnishings'. Known as model No. 670, it was the most structurally ambitious of Charles and Ray Eames' designs.

 Eames ottoman

Designer: Charles Eames
1956
Description: Ottoman with plywood shell, steel pedestal and leather cushion.
History: Charles Eames and his wife, Ray frequently designed chairs utilizing skills in moulding plywood developed during the 2nd World War. This design was intended to accompany chair model No.670.

Cees Braakman chair  

Designer: Cees Braakman & A Dekker
1958
Description: SM05 side chair with black steel-wire welded shell, and a steel rod leg frame.
History: The Dutch designer Braakman was manager and head of design at the UMS-Pastoe company in Holland, which manufactured this piece.

Vico Magistretti

 Magistretti chair

Designer: Vico Magistretti
1959
Description: Carimate Chair 892 - Beech frame with rush seat.
History: From 1946, Vico Magistretti worked independently for several manufacturers, including Cassina and Olivetti. He is better known for his chair designs using plastic injection moulding, but this is the chair which made his name, becoming a popular icon of 1960s design.

Robin Day

 Day chair

Designer: Robin Day
1963
Description: Polypropylene side chair, injection moulded seat and back, with a steel leg frame.
History: The first single form chair to be moulded in polypropylene, an innovative hard wearing but cheap plastic. Unsurprisingly it was known as the 'Polyprop' chair. The design proved incredibly popular and in the last thirty years more than 14 million have been sold.

Day chair  

Designer: Robin Day
1975
Description: 'Polo chair', injection moulded polypropylene seat, back and shell with a steel leg frame.

History: This chair stems from Robin Day's 'Polyprop' series, the first chairs to be moulded in polypropylene, an innovative hard wearing but cheap plastic. These chairs are still being produced today.

David Rowland

 Rowland chairs

Designer: David Rowland
1964
Description: GF 40-4 chair, with steel rod frame and vinyl covered steel seat and back.
History:  The GF 40/4 chair is one of the most successful chairs ever designed. It is available either in wood or upholstery and is very versatile, offering attached arms or work surfaces and with the ability to be stacked onto a specially designed trolley to a height of four feet - hence its name.

Rodney Kinsman

 Kinsman chair

Designer: Rodney Kinsman
1966
Description: 'F Range' Lounge Chair.  Polyrethane foam, red PVC cover
History: Rodney Kinsman founded OMK Design Ltd with Jerzy Olejnik and Bryan Morrison in 1966. Much of the company's early success came from sculptured foam seating like this, sold in the chain store Habitat.

Kinsman chair  

Designer: Rodney Kinsman
1967
Description:T1 Chair - tubular steel frame with leather seat and back.
History: The T1 chair (T for tube) came packed flat in a box. It was an ingeniously simple design which led to further pieces in the T range, and immediately established OMK's distinctive style.

Parker Knolls

Parker Knolls chair  

Designer: Parker Knolls
Date: unknown
Description: Office chair with stained black wooden frame, and upholstered leather seat and back.
History: Parker Knolls formed in 1930 when two of the most famous names in furniture joined forces. With a reputation for innovative and attractive furniture they remain one of the most respected furniture companies in the UK.

Philippe Starck

 Philippe Starck

Designer: Philippe Starck
1994
Description: 'Lord Yo' armchair, in polypropylene with tubular aluminium legs.
History: The 'Lord Yo' chair is a plastic reworking of a traditional tub chair. It is an elegant example of Starck's more recent designs.

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