I’ve always admired the mid-century modern style in home interiors and decor, but my obsession with this minimal and modern style truly blossomed in 2019, just before the pandemic. As we began to spend more time at home, the importance of creating a personal sanctuary became evident.
Among various furnishings, my fascination with lounge chairs, each boasting its unique character and design, grew profoundly. If you’re looking for something distinctive with a story for your new apartment, consider these mid-century modern designer lounge chairs:
Table of Contents
1. Wassily Chair
My journey with the Wassily chair began in 2019 during a cross-country trip across the United States. Staying in various apartments, my appreciation for diverse decor styles grew. Although I couldn’t accommodate one in my tiny New York apartment, I finally got my dream chair in 2021. The Wassily Chair, originally designed by Marcel Breuer in 1925, wasn’t immediately popular. Its radical design using bent tubular steel and canvas was ahead of its time but later became a hallmark of modernist design. You can find my detailed Wassily Chair Review here.
Shop Wassily Lounge Chairs
Room & Board Wassily-Style Chair
2. Flag Halyard Chair by Hans J. Wegner
My fascination with the Flag Halyard Chair borders on obsession, and for good reason. This piece isn’t just a chair; it’s a symphony of materials and textures. Crafted with an eclectic mix of steel, robust ropes, and supple leather and topped with a sheepskin throw, it’s a testament to the inventive spirit of furniture design. Hans Wegner, the mastermind behind this chair, introduced it as a bold statement in 1950. It defied conventional furniture norms of the time, blending various materials to create a piece as much a work of art as a functional item.
The Flag Halyard Chair’s design is a fascinating fusion of aesthetics and comfort. The steel frame provides a sleek, industrial look, while the ropes create a unique, suspended seating area that’s surprisingly comfortable. The leather adds a touch of elegance and luxury, and the sheepskin throw offers warmth and softness, inviting you to sink in and relax. This mix of materials isn’t just for show; each element plays a crucial role in the chair’s functionality and comfort.
What sets the Halyard Chair apart is its daring use of unconventional materials to achieve a harmonious balance. It showcases Wegner’s genius in pushing the boundaries of design and experimenting with new forms and materials. The chair remains iconic and celebrated for its innovative approach and timeless appeal. It’s a must-have for anyone who appreciates the fusion of modern design with traditional craftsmanship.
Shop Flah Halyard Lounge Chairs
3. Terrazzo Sofa by Ubald Klug
Deciding between its color schemes is challenging, especially with limited space like in New York apartments. This sofa is a top contender for my future dream space. The Terrazzo Sofa, designed by Ubald Klug in the 1970s, explores form and function. Its modular design, reminiscent of terrazzo flooring, showcases Klug’s innovative approach to furniture design, blending sculptural art with practicality. Initially, it was a bold departure from conventional sofas, known for its landscape-like contours and ability to be arranged in various configurations. Its impact was significant in the design world, as it redefined furniture possibilities as a statement piece while maintaining comfort and utility.
Shop Terrazzo Sofa by Ubald Klug
Terrazza Sofa Vegan Leather-Ivory Cream / Right
4. DS 600 Modular Sofa by Ueli Berger
This sofa is not just a piece of furniture; it’s a statement of flexibility and innovation in design. When I first came across the DS 600, I was captivated by its endless possibilities. Designed by Ueli Berger, Eleonore Peduzzi Riva, Heinz Ulrich, and Klaus Vogt in 1972, the DS 600 is a marvel of modular design. Often referred to as the “Non-Stop” sofa, it consists of individual segments that can be zipped together to create various shapes and lengths.
This sofa gained fame for its appearance in James Bond movies and has since become a symbol of luxurious versatility. Its ability to adapt to different spaces and styles makes it an extraordinary piece for anyone looking to make a bold statement in their living space. The DS 600 is more than just a sofa; it’s a testament to the playful yet sophisticated spirit of 1970s design, challenging traditional concepts of static furniture.
Shop DS 600 Modular Sofa by Ueli Berger
DS 600 Sectional Sofa, Combination, Black Vegan Leather
5.Le Corbusier Lounge Chair
My feelings are mixed, but this chair undeniably symbolizes modernity. Its design, resembling a psychologist’s chair, might raise some brows, but it’s excellent for various activities. Le Corbusier, known for his contributions to modern architecture, brought a similar innovation to furniture. Initially, his designs, including the designer lounge chairs, were met with skepticism, but they eventually gained acclaim for their functionalist approach.
Shop Le Corbusier Designer Lounge Chair
6. Herman Miller Eames Lounge Chairs
There’s a certain allure to the Eames Lounge Chair that transcends time. I had the pleasure of owning a replica of this chair, and it was as much a centerpiece of my living space as it was a haven of comfort. Designed by Charles and Ray Eames and introduced in 1956, this chair was a radical departure from the traditional designer lounge chairs. It was a bold move by Herman Miller to embrace a modernist aesthetic during a time when opulent, overstuffed armchairs were the norm.
The Eames Lounge Chair was a groundbreaking blend of technology and craftsmanship. Charles and Ray Eames’ vision was to create a chair with the “warm, receptive look of a well-used first baseman’s mitt,” a place where one could sink in and relax. The result was a chair that combined sleek, molded plywood with plush leather, creating a visually striking and supremely comfortable contrast.
Shop Eames Lounge Chairs
Mid Century Chaise Lounge Chair
This chair wasn’t just a piece of furniture but a statement about the future of living spaces. It represented a shift towards a more relaxed, contemporary lifestyle. Its popularity soared, not only because of its comfort and aesthetic appeal but also due to its innovative use of materials and manufacturing techniques. The Eames Lounge Chair became a symbol of modern American design, finding its place in upscale homes, chic offices, and even in the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Today, the Herman Miller Eames Lounge Chair continues to be celebrated for its iconic design and unparalleled comfort. It’s more than just designer lounge chairs; it’s a piece of history that continues to influence contemporary furniture design. Its timeless appeal makes it a favorite for design enthusiasts and anyone looking to add a touch of elegance and comfort to their living space.
7. Roly Poly Chair
Playful and perfect for small spaces, this chair stands out in modern design. The Roly Poly Chair, designed by Faye Toogood, brings a quirky and whimsical touch to furniture design. Its chunky form and minimalistic approach contrast sharply with traditional designs, making it a favorite among contemporary enthusiasts.
Shop Roly Poly Chair
Chunk Chair with Cushion – Grey
8. Keith Haring Kids’ Chair
Another playful design, this chair might not be my cup of tea, but it’s an iconic piece. Keith Haring’s influence in art extends to this chair design, infusing his vibrant and energetic style into a functional piece of furniture. It captures the essence of his artistry and the 1980s pop culture.
9. Brutus Lounge Chair – Sand
This chair epitomizes minimalistic style, a favorite among Instagram aesthetics enthusiasts.It’s given very RosieHW aestehtics. Its design, reminiscent of the clean lines and neutral palettes popular in contemporary Scandinavian design, fits perfectly with modern interior trends. Though its history isn’t as deep as others, its impact on current trends is undeniable.
Coffee Brutus Lounge Chair by 101 Copenhagen
10. Ekstrem Lounge Chair by Terje Ekstrom
My initial skepticism about its comfort was quickly dispelled by its captivating, iconic, and sculptural appearance. Terje Ekstrom’s approach to design marked a significant shift in the late 20th century. His work, particularly this designer lounge chairs, represents a move towards more expressive and artistic forms in furniture, a clear departure from the strict functionalism that dominated much of the earlier 20th-century design. Ekstrom’s chair, often called the ‘Ekstrem’ chair, was a groundbreaking piece introduced in the 1980s.
Its radical design, characterized by its unconventional shape and bold colors, was an aesthetic statement and a testament to ergonomic design. The chair’s form, which almost embraces the sitter, offers a surprisingly comfortable seating experience, contradicting its avant-garde appearance. This chair is not just a piece of furniture; it’s a sculptural work that challenges our perceptions of what furniture can be. It represents a fusion of art and functionality, embodying the spirit of innovation and creativity that defined the late 20th century. The Ekstrem chair remains a sought-after piece for collectors and design enthusiasts, symbolizing the era’s experimental and bold approach to furniture design.
Shop Ekstrem Lounge Chair
11. Velvet Galatea Armchair Walnut
This chair isn’t just a seat; it’s a geometric marvel that seems to call out to anyone with an eye for bold, sculptural forms. With its sharp lines and plush velvet upholstery, the Velvet Galatea Armchair Walnut strikes a perfect balance between avant-garde design and classic comfort. Its introduction marked a turn in furniture design, where function began intertwining with artistic expression.
The chair’s walnut frame provides a sturdy yet elegant base, contrasting beautifully with the luxurious velvet. Its angular, geometric silhouette nods to the Art Deco movement, yet it feels completely contemporary. What I find most captivating is how it seamlessly fits into various interior styles, from minimalist to maximalist. The chair’s design reminisces the late 20th-century trend toward eclectic, statement-making pieces. It’s not just about providing a place to sit; it’s about creating a focal point in a room.
Shop Velvet Galatea Armchair Walnut
Postmodern Cotton Velvet Galatea Armchair Walnut Wood and Marble
While its design might seem bold and unconventional, the Velvet Galatea Armchair Walnut is surprisingly versatile. It’s perfect for those who appreciate furniture that doubles as art. Whether in a cozy reading nook or the center of a lively living room, this chair never fails to impress with its unique blend of style and function.
12. Mario Bellini Camaleonda Sofa
This sofa, often dubbed the Cloud Sofa, is as comfortable as iconic. My first encounter with Mario Bellini’s Camaleonda mesmerized me by its playful, cloud-like form. Introduced in 1970, this modular sofa was a design revolution, breaking away from traditional furniture structures. Its ability to adapt and transform in any setting, much like a chameleon in the waves, is reflected in its name, ‘Camaleonda.’
Bellini’s design was a leap towards flexibility and user interaction. The sofa’s cables, hooks, and rings allow for endless configurations. It soared in popularity during the 1970s, embodying the shift towards informal, versatile living spaces. However, in recent years, its ubiquity has become somewhat overwhelming. It’s been so overused that it might feel a bit passé to some. Despite this, the Camaleonda has never lost its unique charm. Its plush modules and transformative nature make it timeless and relevant in contemporary interiors. Today, even though I might find it a tad boring due to its overexposure, it remains a sought-after piece for its iconic aesthetic and versatility, a testament to Bellini’s visionary design approach.
Shop Mario Bellini Cloud Sofa
13. Philippe Starck Louis Ghost Chair
This chair had me at Hello, or should I say it had me at “Sex and the City.” I remember falling for it during a Paris episode where Carrie, much like myself, was enamored by its chic design, while the Parisian elite found it hideous. Philippe Starck’s Louis Ghost Chair, introduced in the early 2000s, cleverly reimagines the classic Louis XVI armchair in transparent polycarbonate.
It’s a bold fusion of classic and contemporary, echoing the daring fashion choices on the iconic show. This chair isn’t just a piece of furniture; it’s a statement about embracing boldness and transparency, quite literally! Whether in a fancy Parisian café or a quirky New York studio, this chair turns heads and sparks conversations like any episode of ‘Sex and the City.’
14. Frank Gehry Wiggle Side Designer Lounge Chairs
The Wiggle Side Chair is not just a piece of furniture; it’s a bold statement in design innovation. Frank Gehry, renowned for his architectural genius, brought the same creativity and experimentation to furniture design with this chair. Introduced in 1972 as part of his “Easy Edges” series, the Wiggle Side Chair is a striking example of how ordinary materials can be transformed into extraordinary designs.
Gehry utilized corrugated cardboard, a humble and often overlooked material, layering it to create a strong, sturdy structure that’s both functional and visually engaging. The chair’s sinuous form, resembling a series of wiggles, is instantly recognizable and inviting. Its undulating shape isn’t just aesthetically pleasing; it also contours to the human body, offering a surprising level of comfort for a material as unexpected as cardboard.
The Wiggle Side Chair was a part of Gehry’s exploration into the possibilities of new materials and forms in furniture design. At its release, it challenged traditional notions of what furniture could be made from and how it could look. This chair wasn’t just a novelty; it was a serious piece of design, blurring the lines between sculpture and functional object.
Today, the Wiggle Side Chair stands as an icon of modern design. It’s celebrated for its unique material and form and for representing Gehry’s broader impact on design and architecture. The chair is a testament to innovation and creativity, embodying Gehry’s philosophy that great design can come from simple, everyday materials.
15- Iconic Etcetera Lounge Chair
A masterpiece of 1970s design, the Etcetera Chair, designed by Jan Ekselius, stands out with its flowing, wave-like form. This chair isn’t just a piece of furniture; it’s an expression of the era’s avant-garde and playful design ethos. Its unique shape is designed to offer a comfortable and supportive embrace, merging a visually striking aesthetic with practical comfort. The chair’s base, typically made of bent steel, provides flexibility, while the vibrant fabric upholstery adds to its allure. The Etcetera Chair, initially conceived for an art exhibition, became a design icon, epitomizing the fusion of art and functionality in furniture design.
Of course, there are more iconic chairs, like the Hans Wegner Wishbone Chair, Eero Saarinen Tulip Chair, Charles and Ray Eames Lounge Chair, Verner Panton Chair, Marcel Breuer Cesca Chair, and the Dar Chair. While they might not be my first choices, they are significant in design history.
I hope you enjoy this article. Let me know if you want this as a series, and I can explore iconic lamps next time.