“What is a classic, and what does it stand for? Can a design that was conceived many years ago truly fulfil today’s requirements?”
Vitra’s range of iconic classic furniture expresses these ideals and carries with them the stories and inspiration throughout different eras of design. “A designer cannot consciously create a classic piece of furnituree,” the brand says. “The objects that have achieved the status of classics have remained relevant and popular for decades.”
Here are some of the best loved classic furniture pieces from Vitra that have found their ways into today’s homes, offices and interior spaces around the world.
Charles & Ray Eames, 1956
‘Why don’t we make an updated version of the old English club chair?’ With this comment, Charles Eames initiated the development of the Lounge Chair, a process that took several years. This classic armchair designed by Charles and Ray Eames irrefutably set new standards: it is not only lighter, more elegant and more modern than the conventionally ponderous club chair – it is also more comfortable. Thanks to these qualities, the Lounge Chair became one of the most famous designs by Charles and Ray Eames and has attained the status of a classic in the history of modern furniture.
Panton Chair Classic
Verner Panton, 1959/1960
Having conceived a design for an all-plastic chair made from one piece, Verner Panton collaborated with Vitra in 1963 to develop the Panton Chair, which was presented in 1967. The chair was hailed as a sensation and received numerous prizes. The original version of the chair with a glossy lacquer finish is still marketed today under the name Panton Chair Classic.
Jean Prouvé, 1934/1950
Chairs take the most stress on their back legs, where they bear the weight of the user’s upper body. The engineer and designer Jean Prouvé illustrated this simple insight in his distinctive design for the Standard Chair: while steel tubing suffices for the front legs, since they bear a relatively light load, the back legs are made of voluminous hollow sections that transfer the primary stress to the floor.
Jean Prouvé, 1950
Based on structural principles,designer and engineer Jean Prouvé developed the EM Table around 1950 for the project ‘Maison Tropicale’. Adhering to the aesthetics of necessity, even the smallest details of this table are determined by its construction. The canted legs are connected by a crossbar, illustrating the structural forces and flow of stresses in a way that is typically seen only in engineering structures.
Jean Prouvé, 1951
Whether it’s used as dining room seating or as an armchair in home offices, the versatile Fauteuil Direction chair is remarkable seating piece that reflects Jean Prouvé’s characteristic aesthetic vocabulary, which is based on structural requirements. The comfortably upholstered armchair is available with fabric or leather covers in a selection of different colours.
Isamu Noguchi, 1957
Inspired by traditional Japanese paper folding techniques, Isamu Noguchi gave the Prismatic Table a pure geometric design. The three-legged side table, which is evocative of a prism, is available in a choice of black or white.
Isamu Noguchi, 1957
The Dining Table by Isamu Noguchi is one of the most elegant dining tables in the history of twentieth-century furniture design. The chrome-plated rods connect to a cast iron base ring to give the sculptor-designer’s table added stability and support, but without appearing heavy. The Dining Table is available with table tops in two sizes.
Sori Yanagi, 1954
As one of the most famous objects of Japanese post-war design, the Elephant Stool was created by the prolific product designer Sori Yanagi.Its clear form and functionality are as compelling today as ever. Suited for indoor spaces as well as balconies and gardens, the stackable plastic stool can even be used as portable picnic furniture.
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