10 Iconic Chair Designs from the 1920s

Following Globe War I, the emergence of novel guy-produced resources and manufacturing techniques enabled designers to build progressive modern day chairs. It was the era of the ‘machine age’ and an fascinating time for design and style and innovation. Both cantilevered chairs and tubular steel constructions were predominant during the 1920s, alongside some notable exceptions such as Gerrit Thomas Rietveld’s Red and Blue Chair and Eileen Gray’s Bibendum Chair.

Red and Blue Chair in situ MR Chair Mies van der Rohe LC7 Swivel Chair Wassily Chair in white leather LC4 Chaise Longue Grand Confort LC2 Flat Bar Brno Chair Barcelona Chairs with Saarinen side table Charlotte Perriand on the B306 Chaise Longue Bibendum Chair Bibendum by Eileen Gray Marcel Breuer on Wassily Chair

Red and Blue Chair

The Red and Blue Chair (1918-1921) was made by Dutch architect Gerrit Thomas Rietveld. Feel “traditional, enormous armchair… transformed into a geometric entity” (Source: Vitra Layout Museum) and you have the notion for Rietveld’s “Roodblauwe stoel” or Red and Blue Chair.

Red and Blue Chair in situ

Originally developed in 1918 in organic wood, the principal coloured (red, blue and yellow) edition of the chair was presented in 1921 soon after Rietveld joined the De Stijl movement. De Stijl was a Dutch artistic movement founded in 1917. Advocates of De Stijl would simplify performs to horizontal and vertical lines, utilizing only primary colors with black and white. The Red and Blue Chair draws inspiration from De Stijl. Right now it is created by Cassina.

Red and Blue Chair

Photographs © 2014 CASSINA.

B3 Wassily

The style of Hungarian-born Marcel Breuer’s B3 Wassily (1925) was in many techniques shaped by the constructivist theories of the De Stjil motion. Its type is that of a club armchair, but one particular that forgoes the normally stuffy ideals of this kind of a chair and instead uses steel and leather in its building.

Marcel Breuer on Wassily Chair

Marcel Breuer on the Model B3 Wassily Chair. Picture through Gentleman’s Gazette.

Breuer spoke of the Wassily Chair as “my most excessive operate . . . the least artistic, the most logical, the least ‘cozy’ and the most mechanical.” (Source: MoMA) The chair is produced by Knoll.

Wassily Chair in black leather Wassily Chair in white leather

Pictures © 2016 Knoll, Inc.

Bibendum Chair

The Bibendum Chair (1926) was created by Irish-born architect and designer Eileen Gray for her home – the modernist masterpiece E-1027 – at Roquebrune-Cap-Martin in the south of France. Distinguished and charming, Bibendum’s design and style was influenced by the once renowned ‘Bibendum’ Michelin Man. In 1973 Eileen Gray granted the around the world rights to manufacture and distribute her patterns to Aram Types Ltd.

Bibendum by Eileen Gray Bibendum Chair

Photographs by way of Eileen Gray © 2015 Aram.


The MR10 (1927) was made by German-born architect and designer Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, in collaboration with German modernist designer Lilly Reich (Reich worked closely with Mies van der Rohe all through the 1920s).

MR Chair

The cantilevered MR10 was considered the height of modernity and the chair was a fine study in bent tubular steel. While not the initial designer to make a bent-steel cantilevered chair (that credit score goes to Dutch architect and designer Mart Stam), Mies van der Rohe is remembered as “the one particular who created [the bent-steel cantilevered chair] lovely.” (Supply: Knoll) The MR10 is made by Knoll.

MR Chair Mies van der Rohe

Photos © 2016 Knoll, Inc.

LC7 Swivel Chair

Inspired by a straightforward office chair, the LC7 Swivel Chair (1927) was developed by French architect and designer Charlotte Perriand for her apartment in Saint-Sulpice, Paris. Following several exhibitions (which includes the 1929 Salon d’Automne Paris ar2rk exhibition), the LC7 was integrated with the now renowned LC collection co-signed by Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret and Perriand.

LC7 Swivel Chair LC7 by Charlotte Perriand

Pictures © 2014 CASSINA.


The cantilevered B32 (1928), created by Marcel Breuer, added a sturdy wooden frame to the chair’s seat and backrest. The use of wood and cane, collectively with chromed tubular steel, aided to soften and warm the B32’s appearance. In all, the style is clean, truthful, aesthetic and utilitarian. Also known as the Cesca Side Chair, the B32 is created by Knoll.

B32 Cesca Chair B32 Chair Group

Photographs © 2016 Knoll, Inc.

Grand Confort LC2 Club Chair

The Grand Confort LC2 Club Chair (1928) was designed by Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeannette and Charlotte Perriand. The story goes that when 24-12 months-old Charlotte Perriand asked for a occupation at Le Corbusier’s Paris studio, he replied: “We don’t embroider cushions right here.” (Supply: Style Museum) He would later apologise on seeing Perriand’s glass, steel and aluminium ‘Bar sous le Toît’ installation, produced for the Salon d’Automne exhibition in Paris. Le Corbusier subsequently invited Perriand to perform at his studio.

Grand Confort LC2 Club Chair

The Grand Confort LC2 emphasises the separation of functionalism and comfort, plainly distinguishing its structural factors and cushions. It was component of the first undertaking assigned to Perriand by Le Corbusier, who asked for a series of chairs to furnish Villa La Roche, a residence he was creating in Paris. The LC2 is created by Cassina.

Grand Confort LC2 Grand Confort LC2 by Le Corbusier, Jeannette, Perriand

Photographs © 2014 CASSINA.

LC4 Chaise Longue

The LC4 Chaise Longue (1928), designed by Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeannette and Charlotte Perriand, was also designed for Le Corbusier’s Villa La Roche.

Charlotte Perriand on the B306 Chaise Longue

Charlotte Perriand on the B306 chaise longue. Picture through The Telegraph.

The LC4 (also referred to as the B306) balances comfort, ergonomics and geometry with aplomb. It is made by Cassina.

LC4 Chaise Longue LC4 Chaise Longue by Le Corbusier, Jeannette, Perriand

Photographs © 2014 CASSINA.

Barcelona Chair

The Barcelona Chair (1929) was designed by Mies van der Rohe in collaboration with Lilly Reich and is a veritable heavyweight lounger. With its striking and stylish 1920s modernist style, the Barcelona Chair is usually a favoured seat in large-end modern corporate foyers and lobbies.

Barcelona Chair

It was developed for the German Pavilion at the 1929 International Exhibition in Barcelona (Mies van der Rohe himself created the pavilion). Mies van der Rohe needed a seat fit for the King and Queen of Spain (who reportedly by no means sat on the chairs). The Barcelona Chair is made by Knoll.

Barcelona Chairs with Saarinen side table

Pictures © 2016 Knoll, Inc.

Brno Chair – Flat Bar

The Brno Chair – Flat Bar (1929-thirty) was developed by Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich for the master bedroom in his renowned Villa Tugendhat in Brno, Czech Republic. The Brno Chair is surely a handsome seat, its striking profile obviously elevated by the use of a flat bar (there is also a tubular bar edition).

Flat Bar Brno Chair Flat Bar and Tubular Bar Brno Chair

Brno Chair – Flat Bar and Tubular Bar versions.

Photographs © 2016 Knoll, Inc.


Layout Museum. (2016) An introduction to the 1920s. [Online] Accessible from: http://designmuseum.org. [Accessed: 11th February 2016].

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