A chair is easy to define, right? It has four legs, a seat, a back and maybe arms. Actually, that’s not always true, and when it comes to artful designers, the unusual chairs they construct push the boundaries of what many people consider a chair. These statement chairs are more than just a place to sit: they express creativity, add interest to a space and become a major focal point in any room. If you haven’t really seen any that challenge your notion of what a chair is, here are some great examples of statement chairs.
These Statement Chairs Are More Than Just a Place to Sit
Organic and Humanlike
Hand-formed to have an organic look, this chair by Orta Miklos has some creature-like features that give it a feeling of movement. The two legs in the front have thick tops like haunches and the rest of the support comes from what is essentially a tail and a pooling of the drape at the back. The arms feel like they’re….arms and the head shape is reminiscent of ears at the top. It may not be the chair you’ll lounge in but it certainly exudes creativity and stands out for its unique qualities.
This piece fits the standard definition of a chair, each classic element has an architectural look and the intention of designer Noro Khachatryan was to question their interactions. Crafted from solid aluminum, Khachatryan’s inspiration for this analytical approach derives from the different dimensions of utilitarian objects that are found in the Middle East.
The chair is simple in appearance, suitable for outdoors as well as indoors, but is more about the process than everyday comfort. It’s a functional sculpture that is a striking addition to an office or living room.
Plump yet imposing, the Ditto Armchair by Robert Stadler is formed from Bardiglio Griogio Marble as a single unit. The large rounded bottom takes the place of legs and fives it a very bottom-heavy appearance. Minimalist in look with only the scoring in the surface for details, this chair attracts attention for its lack of embellishment.
Stadler is quite as saying “I enjoy revealing the strange sides to an object and making people love them.” Stadler says. he notes that people expect that functional objects should be simple and attractive, “so I try to add a different dimension to my works, but without neglecting these rational parameters.”
Designed by Daniel Arsham for Friedman Benda’s exhibit at Design Miami 2019, the Cleveland Chair I, is an upholstered study in different geometries. The nearly postmodern shapes are adorned with scribbled sharpie pen designs by Arsham.
With each section a different shape, it totally challenges the traditional motions of a chair’s structure. Daniel Arsham is recognized for using various elements to manipulate and distort our understandings of structure and space. He is also part of the well-known collaborative Snarkitecture.
Part statement chair and part piece of design history, this piece by Italian designer Ricardo Dalisi was created in 1976. The unique chair is a great example of how innovative designs remain fresh through the generations.
Presented by era Studio the chair is essentially a predecessor for what we call the maker movement today. Dalisi was a leading proponent for individual creativity in the radical anti-design debate, which shunned technical progress and mass-production.
One of the easiest ways to make a design splash with a statement chair is to choose one made from an unexpected material, like this one fashioned from glass. Created by artist John Hogan of Seattle, the piece was his first cast-glass furniture scale work.
Called the Clearing Chair and presented by The Future Perfect, it projects a look we don’t expect from glass: a feeling of heftiness and permanence instead of fragility and openness. Hogan’s work is known for its exploration of refracted light and this chair is a fabulous piece that feels very complex.
An Urban Edge
From streetwear to furniture that transcends the expected, Virgil Abloh’s Efflorescence collection for Galerie Kreo is described as being “somewhere between sculpture and useful object.” This chair is one of the pieces and each one is made from concrete and has a punctured surface. Inspired by brutalist forms, the shapes are embellished with graffiti-like designs that melds the architectural genre with urban culture.
Mixed Materials and Misfits
Designer Jonathan Trayte has described his work as a cast of characters that is made up of weirdos and misfits. This is his Custard Ma Ma’ Chaise Lounge and is made of cowhide, sheepskin, raccoon fur, marble, powder-coated steel and woven polyester cord.
The mélange of mostly unexpected materials creates a show-stopping piece that will most certainly add a very artful edge to your space. It’s also a marvelous example of how quirky or campy pieces can enliven a room, make you think and spark conversation. Besides…it’s just so much fun!
Strong and striking, Nwa-Mulamula’s Embrace I is aptly named because it is an homage to Fashion designer Rich Mnisi’s grandmother. He is quoted as saying that “I see her as a symbol to pay homage to the role of African mothers whose stories are either seldom documented or given the light they deserve.” Presented by the Southern Guild Gallery, the chair is upholstered in leather. The versatile design makes a bold statement yet meld well with other pieces showing quiet strength — just like his grandmother.
Another piece from design history, this “S46Y” by French designer Pierre Chapo was created around 1979. The Paris-based artist was known for his wooden pieces, usually made from oak, elm, ash or teak, as well as his expertise ins combining traditional techniques and contemporary design. Crafted from elmwood and leather, the chair is mid-century modern in style and a perfectly elegant addition to today’s interiors with a distinctive difference: a sense of history most new pieces do not have.
If anything, these statement chairs show you how different individual designs can look and still function as a chair. Whether you want a statement chair that’s purely for seating or one that is equal parts artistic statement and piece of furniture, a wide range of unexpected and eye-catching designs is available to add dimension to your room. Which kind would you choose?