The 13 Coolest Chairs on the Planet

Fashion
Design museums and high-end home stores are full of iconic chairs from decades past, but what about the best stuff that’s being made right now?

If an Eames chair spent a wild weekend with Tom Sachs it might turn out looking something like the artists Shop Chair...

If an Eames chair spent a wild weekend with Tom Sachs, it might turn out looking something like the artist’s Shop Chair, seen here boxed up in his NYC studio.Photograph by Jiro Konami

$2,000, tomsachsfurniture.com

Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Shop Chair

Designer: Tom Sachs
Country: USA

In typical Sachs fashion, the concept of the perforated Shop Chair is as much about the nature of design as it is about sitting. With an Eames-like seat and rubber flex mounts for comfort, and a thick maple plywood base, it’s a perfect example of how the artist turns something familiar into something extraordinary.


$2,789, hem.com

Courtesy of Hem

Puffy Lounge Chair

Designer: Faye Toogood for Hem
Country: England

Produced by Swedish furniture maker Hem, Toogood’s lounger combines an inviting quilt-like cushion with a steel frame—a design so minimal it feels near-incomplete. It comes in a range of leather and cloth options, with different color bases, so you can choose either stark and clinical or warm and relaxing.


$860, gebruederthonetvienna.com

Courtesy of Front

No. 0 Chair

Designer: Front for Weiner GTV Design
Country: Sweden

Stockholm studio Front’s reinterpretation of Gebrüder Thonet Vienna’s beyond-classic No. 14 chair—designed in 1860 (!), the first mass-produced piece of furniture ever!—adds a curvy arm but doesn’t sacrifice the minimal, regal power of the Viennese original.


Price upon request, thefutureperfect.com

Courtesy of Seungjin Yang

Blowing Armchair 1

Designer: Seungjin Yang
Country: South Korea

Seoul-based furniture designer Yang’s whimsical armchair is made from attached balloons that have been repeatedly coated, astonishingly, with epoxy resin. Available as a custom order, it pushes at-home seating into cartoonishly fun territory.


$1,985, pretziada.com

Courtesy of Pretziada

Inès Chair

Designer: Chiara Andreatti for Pretziada
Country: Italy

Crafted by third-generation Sardinian woodworker Pierpaolo Mandis for the brand Pretziada, the Inès is influenced by the kid-size caned seats commonly kept around homes on that island, to be used outdoors, cracking almonds or sitting by the fire.


$2,082, gebruederthonetvienna.com

Courtesy of LucidiPevere

Chignon Lounge Chair

Designer: LucidiPevere for Weiner GTV Design
Country: Italy

Another riff on the historic bentwood chairs of Gebrüder Thonet Vienna, the plush, bright, and round Chignon from the Italian outfit LucidiPevere is a new design that recalls the stout and appealing big-cushioned seats of the ’70s.


$3,000, branca-lisboa.com

Courtesy of Branca Lisboa

Shell Lounge Chair

Designer: Marco Sousa Santos for Branca Lisboa
Country: Portugal

Sturdy as a backbone but as open as a sieve, the Shell takes its cues from the spine, expanding its connected accordion shape into a round, spacious bowl. It can take on either a luxe or spare vibe depending on how many pillows you drop in its seat. (It comes with four.)


$4,895, bdbarcelona.com

Courtesy of BD Barcelona Design

Grasso Chair

Designer: Stephen Burks for BD Barcelona Design
Country: Spain

Grasso is Italian for “fat,” but this chair isn’t actually overweight, says its American Designer, Stephen Burks: “It’s overflowing.” Indeed, with leather cushions oozing out of a broad iron frame, it feels like an update of those ’80s-era Corbusier LC2 armchairs with the cushions that sink out past their frames after regular use.


$1,460, ile-ila.com

Courtesy of Ilé Ilà

Line Chair

Designer: Ilé Ilà
Country: Nigeria

This Lagos-based design firm takes inspiration from minimalist architecture and places it in a contemporary Yoruban context. In other words, it sets West African fabrics and woods into exacting, clean shapes. The Line chair’s sharp angles recall work by French modern design legend Pierre Jeanneret.


$656, nychairx.eu

Courtesy of Takeshi Nii

NYCharix

Designer: Takeshi Nii
Country: Japan

A Japanese classic designed in 1970 that’s won awards over three separate decades, this is one of those epochal pieces that makes time bend. Was it really made 50 years ago? Light, foldable, and reasonably priced, it’s the camp chair’s platonic ideal.


$700, leonleondesign.com

Courtesy of León León

BN01 Chair

Designer: León León
Country: Mexico

Mexico City-based León León’s BN01 is an unadorned leather canopy hanging over a base of light parota wood—the kind found mostly in Latin America. Shaped a bit like Kaare Klint’s 1933 Safari chair but with the same direct energy that characterizes Percival Lafer’s ’70s loungers, it’s sleek, unassuming, and stately.


$2,115, delaespada.com

Photograph by Sarah Lee

Kimble Chair

Designer: Matthew Hilton for De La Espada
Country: England

A Windsor chair produced by the Portuguese furniture maker De La Espada, the Kimble looks as elegant as a museum piece but reinterpreted in a customizable, opulent way. Each variation of the ash and walnut chair—whether finished with white, black, or Danish oil—offers a different aesthetic and energy, from simple and stark to vibrant and contrasting.


$1,460, noom-home.com

Courtesy of NOOM

Low Chair Gropius

Designer: NOOM
Country: Ukraine

NOOM Designer Kateryna Sokolova pays tribute to furniture heroes of the past: The Low Chair Gropius, named after the Bauhaus founder, uses the rough dimensions of his famous F51 armchair, inverted to be softer and more playful.

A version of this story originally appeared in the October 2021 issue with the title “Around the World in 13 Chairs.”

Leave a Reply