No matter your design aesthetic—modern, traditional or somewhere in-between—incorporating iconic midcentury furniture will add form and function to your space. There’s a reason why these classics never seem to fade out of fashion:
Eames Lounge and Ottoman
In 1956, American husband-and-wife design duo Charles and Ray Eames —whose work was rooted in modern architecture and industrial and furniture design—introduced their iconic lounge and ottoman. This set combines hand-assembled molded plywood, leather upholstery and drawing inspiration from the “look of a well-used first baseman’s mitt.”
Saarinen Tulip Table and Chairs
Finnish-American midcentury modernist Eero Saarinen, who also designed furniture with the Eames, was behind the designs of the iconic TWA Flight Center at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City and the Arch in St. Louis. In 1956, his Pedestal Collection gave shape to this elegant table (made with laminate and marble tops) and its corresponding chairs that are meant to eradicate the “slum of legs” and thus add a sense of curvature to any room.
Let there be light. For Copenhagen’s SAS Royal Hotel in 1960, the pipe-puffing Danish designer Arne Jacobsen (responsible for the beloved Egg and Swan chairs) used spun steel to create his signature AJ Floor Lamp. (Fun fact: He also created a bevy of ashtrays and cutlery for the fashionable hotel.) Whether you’re working, writing or reading, you can rotate the shade 60 degrees to accommodate the task.
Debuting just after World War II, this design by Saarinen was for iconic designer Florence Knoll, who wanted a chair in which to curl up. Mission accomplished: This modern and uber-comfortable piece of midcentury furniture mixes polished chrome with upholstered fabric (or Volo leather) and molded fiberglass. It’s perfect for lounging or settling in with a favorite book.
Introduced in the 1950s, the lightweight, sculptural Wishbone Chair by Danish designer Hans Wegner was partially inspired by a portrait of Danish merchants sitting in Chinese Ming chairs. The result from Wegner—who earned the nickname “Master of the Chair” for his work in designing over 500 chairs—is a solid wood frame with a comfortable, Y-shaped back that looks great alone or in a grouping.
Originally designed to seat the king and queen of Spain at the 1929 International Exposition in Barcelona, the aptly-titled Barcelona Chair is the creation of German-born Mies van der Rohe. The man behind NYC’s Seagram building and the aphorism, “Less is more,” worked with Lilly Reich to design this handsome chair with welting, buttons and cowhide belting straps.
In 1928, Swiss designer Le Corbusier, instantly recognizable by his thick-glasses and the architect of many private residences in France and Switzerland, teamed with his cousin, Pierre Jeanneret, and Charlotte Perriand to create this sturdy, industrial-style LC4. With a moveable frame and covering of leather or cowhide, this midcentury furniture piece offers a pleasing balance of ergonomic pleasure and modern design