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Take a Seat

Architects and their furniture

Yielding a working knowledge of mechanics and carpentry and having an overactive imagination and a restless mind; archtiects have often delved into creative filds other than architecture.

All their spaces are carefully designed with every detail accounted for. It’s only right that the same eye for detail extends to the furniture that goes into some of these immersive spaces. The material, texture and dimensions of each piece is carefully considered and sometimes mimics their creators. It is seen to be somewhat of a right of passage for a prominent architect to design a piece of furniture.



The Barcelona Chair
Ludwig Mies van de Rohe

Originally designed for the German Pavilion for the international expo 1929, this chair was designed for royalty rather than the Bauhaus trademarked furniture style for the ‘common man’. It is based on a folding chair that used to be used by the Roman aristocrats called the Curule Chair.

In 1981, author Tom Wolfe suggested that all young architects must own this chair as sigil of their profession.


Fish Lamps and Cardboard Chairs
Frank Gehry

Frank Gehry is responsible for many different unusual pieces of furniture. Marrying different materials to unusual uses is his specialty. He created a perforated, plastic laminate fish lamp, in many different iterations. He presented these as part of installations for exhibitions. His ambition was to sell them commercially but upon realizing that they would be unaffordable for the average household he did not pursue this.


More Leg Room Please
Rem Koolhaas

The 6ft 3 Architect has spent a lot of time on ill-fitting chairs and sofas, and so it was only inevitable that he would create a suitable chair for those of his height. The adaptable ‘Edge of the Seat’ chair is one of several pieces of furniture, the architect created.

As part of his collection ‘Tools for Life’, the architect also created the 08 Perch Chair; a rocking stool made up of 2 timber cylinders, an acrylic cylinder and an upholstered seat. Like the ‘Edge of the Seat’, it is also adjustable using an internal gas-assist mechanism allowing for a change in height from 48cm to 76cm.


‘Mesa’ Glass Table
Zaha Hadid

Like any of her architectural pieces Zaha Hadid, connects the void with and the solid so that together they are perceived as an inseparable substance. The fluid forms forming the table legs and smooth finish surface flow seamlessly into each other, presenting as much like a liquid as a solid.


The Peacock Chair
Frank Lloyd Wright

As well as designing 1100 buildings, Frank Lloyd Wright found the time to design a chair specifically for Tokyo’s Imperial Hotel 1921. The timber ‘Peacock Chair’ was to be part of the banquet hall of the hotel, also referred to as the Peacock room, reflecting the room entirely in its design.  The hexagonal back mimicked the geometric forms of the banquet hall and seen throughout the entire hotel. The brass joints highlighted the attention to detail that Wright prided himself on, also reflected in all his architectural designs. The constructability of the chair was just as important as its form, with every seam proudly visible, showcasing the labour taken in constructing the chair. Although the hotel no longer stands the chair serves in homage to the passion and drive that was within its maker.


The Eames Lounge Chair
Charles and Ray Eames

The husband and wife design duo had many interests outside their architectural work. As well as filmmaking and graphic design they created a range of furniture pieces. The most famous of these was designed to have a ‘warm, receptive look of a well-used first baseman’s mitt’. The chair and ottoman moulded out of plywood and leather is arguably the most comfortable chair in the world and is now a permanent feature at MoMA.

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