Do you know your iconic modern designers? Eames, Saarinen, Bertoia... these are all the superstars of interior design. Here, designer Angela Belt showcases top pieces from 6 legends.
Modern classics are iconic pieces of furniture that have somehow transcended fleeting design trends. They can be infused into a myriad of design styles from transitional to pure modern or eclectic interiors. Think of these pieces as your favorite leather bomber jacket that goes with everything. Dress it up or down, and it ages beautifully. Then one day you realize it doesn’t fit anymore, and you give it to your best friend who looks #onfleek with it. And then, you are forever secretly upset that you ever thought of giving it away! (But I digress.) These heirloom-quality pieces are well worth the price tag because they never go out of style. Here’s a quick run-down of some pieces you’ll see on Homepolish and the people who designed them.
1. Charles and Ray Eames
The dynamic design duo Charles and Ray Eames have been labeled “The Most Influential Designers of the 20th Century.” One of their most iconic pieces is the Eames lounge chair and ottoman developed in 1956, and manufactured for the masses by Herman Miller. To simply look at the design of the chair is only half the reason it’s so famous. The other half? Simply said, it’s so darn comfortable. When designing a room setting, think of this chair like your “wow factor” in the room. It will definitely be a conversation starter on who gets to sit there first! I mean, just look at this black leather one in a project by Katherine Carter.
But of course, the Eames have more than one signature piece! When it came to designing furniture, Charles and Ray focused on form and function. Another favorite is the Eames molded plastic chair, or DSW chair (pictured below). There are a lot of different variations in materials, base options, and colors with this collection. These chairs are often selected by interior designers for both residential and commercial spaces because they are durable, easy to clean, and very customizable. See how they pop in this Chicago dining room?
2. Eero Saarinen
Eero Saarinen was a Finnish architect and industrial designer who created futuristic furniture. With modern machinery, Saarinen was able to develop furnishings with organic and curvy lines. One of his most famous designs is the Tulip, or Pedestal, collection developed in partnership with Knoll in 1956. I still cannot believe this design is well over fifty years old! Every time I look at the collection, I feel like they were developed from a group of really hip aliens from lightyears away. Don’t be afraid to think out of the box when pairing this collection with other pieces of furniture. In Kelly Oxford’s home (left), you can see that the Eames shell chairs (the same ones mentioned above!) play off of the curvaceous table. But on the flip side, you could go super minimalist as with the metal chairs in a NYC project by Erica Riha (right).
3. George Nelson
Ok, so see that pendant light in the right picture? That’s a design by George Nelson. He’s one of the founders of the American Modernism movement. He has many accolades and design lines, but I wanted to focus on one of the most recognizable lighting series in the design community, the Bubble lamps. This lighting series has a deep offering with pendants, table, floor, and a slew of shapes, sizes, and colors to choose from. In the market place, there are lots of paper lanterns, but none of them hold up like the Bubble lamps. The lamp is constructed with metal wires to make the frame of the lamp, and then it’s sprayed with translucent plastic. The highly adaptable design can be placed throughout the home in a variety of settings.
4. Hans Wegner
If you love midcentury design, well, then you can thank Danish furniture designer, Hans Wegner. He created over 500 different types of chairs, all with a focus on organic functionality. Talk about somebody who really likes chairs! The design of the Wishbone chair was inspired by Wegner observing Danish merchants sitting in Ming-style chairs in the 1940s. He soon partnered with Danish firm Carl Hansen and Søn, and they’ve been producing the chairs since 1950. The chair has many unique qualities: it’s light weight, beautiful and elegant from all angles, and the paper cord seating is durable enough to last generations. When a client wants something with heirloom quality and a unique style, the wishbone chair is a no brainer! In a Silver Lake reno, designer Stefani Stein knew they would be just the thing to complete a breakfast nook.
5. Harry Bertoia
The furniture designer Harry Bertoia was entrenched in modern design. The diamond chair, which became known as the Bertoia Collection by Knoll, is a marriage of sculpture and furniture. The chair’s design is meant to be light and airy, a collection of metal latticework. You may have seen the Bertoia collection in a lot of commercial spaces and lobby areas in upscale businesses. But at home, consider layering a sheepskin on top as designer Gabriel Fontes did in his Chicago home or try using them as barstools like this LA project by .
6. Philippe Starck
A new modern classic to add to the list is Philippe Starck’s Louis Ghost chair designed in 2002, manufactured by Kartel. This modern interpretation of the Louis XVI armchair is made of transparent injection-molded polycarbonate (aka a new man-made material that is so cool I can’t even explain it). But I do know this much, the chair looks hot in almost any room setting you photograph it in. These chairs are perfect when designing small-scale spaces since the furniture will literally blend into the room. They are light-weight and are flexible enough in design and style that you could place one almost anywhere in your home and it would work with the space. They are simply elegant in this Chicago home by .
It’s not a coincidence that you keep seeing some of the most beautiful pieces of furniture in Homepolish projects. Those pieces are there because they are investment pieces for your home, and let’s face it, they look gooooodddd.