Since the first office chairs saw the light of day – Charles Darwin attached wheels under his chair in 1840 to make it easier to move through his room –we have started en masse doing our work sitting behind desks.
So if you have to sit for a large part of the day, why not sit on a functional and comfortable piece of art. From a chair that exudes prestige and status, to one with a back like that of a smartphone; these are the defining designs of famous designers from the past sixty years.
Top 6 the most iconic design office chairs:
- Aeron Office Chair
- Eames EA 117 and 119
- Pollock Executive Chair
- Hille Supporto Office Chair
- Oxford Office Chair
- DePadova Silver
Aeron Office Chair
Designer: Bill Stumpf & Don Chadwick | Manufacturer: Herman Miller
Comfort, innovation and design come together in the Herman Miller Aeron office chair. Designed in 1992 by Bill Stumpf and Don Chadwick, this revolutionary office chair was different than the world had ever seen.
Driven by the idea of designing an ergonomic and health-friendly chair, Stumpf and Chadwick were the first to use ventilating mesh instead of foam, fabric or leather that had been standard up to then. De Aeron changed the perception of what an office chair could be and became a lasting hit in the country of origin. America’s best-selling chair is now also well-known and widely praised in Europe.
The high comfort of the chair is partly due to the fact that the Aeron can be adjusted to the body in all kinds of ways and because the chair “moves” with the person sitting on it. The chair is available in three sizes: A (small), B (medium) and C (large), making the design the perfect fit for every user.
Based on renewed knowledge, advances in materials, production and technology, a remastered version of the Aeron was launched by Herman Miller in 2017.
Eames EA 117 and 119
Designer: Charles & Ray Eames | Manufacturer: Herman Miller & Vitra
It is the seemingly simple, elegant and timeless design that makes the EA office chairs by Charles and Ray Eames special and loved.
The beautiful designs of the Eames products do not suggest that design has never been the most important element for the couple. They have always put functionality of their designs first. You notice this immediately when you sit down on the EA 117 or EA119, the two office chairs from the Eames Aluminum series.
The frame of an Eames office chair is made in such a way that the seat hangs in it and can shape to the body without it hanging out. The chair is not only precisely sturdy enough, but also fits into any interior and workplace thanks to its elegant design.
The chair is offered in many variations, materials and colors. The seat can be fabric, leather or netweave. It is available with and without tilt option, wheels, swivel option, high and low backrest.
The Eames Aluminum series was taken into production in 1958 by Herman Miller. Since 1986, the Eames furniture for the European market (and that of the Middle East) has been made by Vitra.
Pollock Executive Chair
Designer: Charles Pollock | Manufacturer: Knoll
“A chair, it’s like a sculpture,” designer Charles Pollock once wrote in a biographical sketch. He only designed a few chairs in his entire career, but what he designed is considered and detailed.
The luxurious Pollock Executive Chair – often simply called the Pollock Chair – was first released in 1963 and is part of the prestigious Knoll collection. Knoll International is also the manufacturer of the Asymmetric Chaise from Bartoia.
Characteristic of the Pollock chair is the aluminum band on the outside of the chair in combination with leather and a plastic shell. The band is functional; it holds the chair together, protects it, and is an important part of the design. The chair is timeless, comfortable and has a particularly lush, sturdy look.
In 2015, after Pollock died in 2013 (50 years after the introduction of the chair), the office chair made a comeback. The Pollock Executive Chair is on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian Institution and the Louvre.
Hille Supporto Office Chair
Designer: Fred Scott | Manufacturer: Hille internationaal / Zoeftig Limited
The System Supporto Task Chair was designed in 1976 by Englishman Frederick Scott and launched in 1979.
The chair with its timeless and inspiring design immediately gained national and international fame and won the Design Award from the Design Council. The Supporto is not only part of the permanent collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, but is also found in Apple’s offices. Perhaps not only because the comfort of the seating but also because the back, made of cast aluminum, looks a bit like a smartphone.
For the design of the Supporto, Fred Scott did detailed ergonomic studies on how people actually sit when they are working. It gave him a great insight into the needs of the seated person; insight that has had a major impact on office furniture as we know it today.
As the Supporto was designed for the office furniture manufacturer Hille, the chair is easy to use, easy to clean and have a long service life. Hille is mainly known for the stackable Polyside from Robin Day of which an estimated 14 million have been sold and another 500,000 “sell over the counter” each year. The Supporto is nowadays made by Zoeftig Limited, a manufacturer of, among other things, benches for airport terminals.
Oxford Office Chair
Designer: Arne Jacobsen | Manufacturer: Fritz Hansen
Arne Jacobsen designed the Oxford chair for professors at St. Catherine’s College in Oxford in 1965. The extra long back of the chair symbolizes prestige and status. Arne Jacobsen later developed various variations on the ‘professor chair’, which led to the current Oxford series. But the most iconic remains the chair with the high back and without armrests.
Recognizable is the minimalist Danish style for which Arne Jacobsen is known. The design of the Oxford chair is simple, elegant and functional, just like the Egg Chair and the series of “7” chairs that were also designed by Arne Jacobsen. The modern and elegant appearance of the design makes the chair suitable for large public spaces but also for living rooms.
The Oxford chair is produced by Danish manufacturer Fritz Hansen, who has many collaborations with well-known Danish designers, including Poul Kjaerholm, known for the PK chairs and the PK61 table.
Designer: Vico Magistretti | Manufacturer: DePadova
The Italian designer and architect Vico Magistretti based his design of the De Padova Silver on the proportions of the legendary Thonet chair. The De Padova Silver is made of polypropylene and aluminum, which means that the chair is not only very light and resistant, but also has an industrial and modern appearance.
The De Padova Silver office chair is part of a series of chairs and is available as a stackable chair and even as a stool. The De Padova Silver series was designed in 1989 and immediately became a design classic.
Five years later, in 1994, Vico Magistretti designed the Serbelloni, similar in shape and proportions to the Silver, but more luxuriously finished with leather and fabric. The high five-spoke swivel base is recognizable.