To a serious bookworm, searching for a great reading chair is much more than looking for another piece of furniture.
It’s a fact that committed readers can read pretty much anywhere; a good book offers its own comfort. And yet, there’s something to be said for that one special chair whose sole function is to encourage consumption of the printed word. To that end, we’ve picked five of our favorite literary loungers — a trio of style icons, one kitschy classic, and a modern masterpiece.
Gianfranco Frattini Model 877 Lounge Chair
This swarthy Italian lounger, smartly styled by architect and industrial designer Gianfranco Frattini, is positively perfetto for a rainy afternoon with Umberto Eco. The rosewood frame, made in the furniture town of Cassina, dates to 1959, but the luscious black aniline leather upholstery is brand new. Magnifico!
$21,700 (offers welcome)
The Sinus Chair
A Space Age sensation when German designers Reinhold Adolf and Hans Jürgen Schröpfer unveiled it back in 1976, the Sinus — still crafted by furniture maker Cor in Germany — remains a glam vision of a future we’re still waiting to see. Sinus is available with arms, but we say it’s better off armless.
$4,400 (in leather; footstool, $1,800)
The Egg Chair
Danish designer Arne Jacobsen created the Egg chair in 1960 for Copenhagen’s new Royal Hotel. The chairs are still there, and 60 years on, they’re just as enticing. In addition to providing uncommon comfort, with or without its pretty footstool, Jacobsen’s innovative Egg offers a suggestion of privacy — perfect for keeping a low profile in the lobby or curling up with Peter Høeg in the living room.
$13,578 (in leather; footstool, $3,266)
The Hardoy Chair (aka the Butterfly Chair)
With all due respect to the rightly famous Eames Lounger, the kitschy Butterfly — designed in 1938 by Jorge Ferrari Hardoy — is the world’s most imitated chair. MoMA has one in its permanent collection and Amazon.com has one for $19. The best, though, comes from Europe’s Conran.
$2,600 (in leather)
The Roman and Williams Guild Reader
Calling to mind the familiar X-frame movie-director’s sling chair, Stephen Alesch and Robin Standefer’s Reader is as inviting as a long snowy weekend at the cabin. Made of reclaimed hardwood and saddle leather, with machined brass hardware to hold it together, the comfy Reader is a chair — and a footstool — made for binging on George R.R. Martin.