What defines a mid century modern chair?
When we speak of the mid century modern period this refers to a minimalist style of design that became popular between the 1930s and the mid 1970s. After World War II the need for low cost furniture and the introduction of mass production techniques really pushed the envelope when it came to the mid century look. So when choosing my favourite md century modern dining chairs it is elements of those groundbreaking techniques that I am looking for.
1. The Eames DSW and Eames DSR Chairs
Eames DSW Side Chair
In 1948 Charles Eames literally broke the mould in his use of polypropylene in the design of the DSR and DSW chairs. He created the unique chairs for a competition launched by MOMA to find the best inexpensive designs. He only came second but history has proved his design to be the clear winner. Vitra provide the “official” version of these chairs in Europe but frankly at £280.00 per piece, they are hardly in keeping with the spirit of the design. That’s probably around 1000% mark up on what they cost them to make. Fortunately copies are available that Eames would be proud to see in use in thousands of homes and businesses across the world. It is perhaps a victim of its own success and familiarity breeds contempt. But as an affordable and stylish mid century chair it simply can’t be beat.
2. The Cesca Chair by Marcel Breuer
Marcel Breuer Cesca Chair (set of 4)
Designed by marcel breuer in 1928 its design is perhaps a little early to be counted as a mid century chair. But what can I say? Marcel Breuer was ahead of his time! It was strikingly modern with its tubular steel frame. And funnily enough it is most redolent of the latter end of the mid century period. It became hugely popular in the 1970s when rattan was in vogue. And it is undoubtedly topping the fashion charts in the 2020s too. Read more about the Cesca Chair in our blog.
3. Wishbone Chair by Hans Wegner
Wishbone CH24 Y Chair
This elegant curved mid century icon is perhaps the most recognisable Danish chair. Sometimes called the “Y” Chair de to the shape of the back and also as the CH24 it is a mid century Scandi classic. It is found in hotels and restaurants across the world. It can be used a as a dining chair or as an occasional chair and is perfect for use in the kitchen, living room or office.
4. Edwin Dining Chair
Edwin Dining Chair
The Edwin Dining chair is apparently inspired by the mid century modern chairs in Soho House Berlin and I think it’s a stunner. I do love all the famous designs above, but it is nice to find something less well known that still hits that MCM sweet spot. And I think the Edwin chair fills that gap perfectly. Handmade in Italy, the curved support back is crafted from one continuous piece of ash wood that has been steam bent into shape. The chair’s deep-sit form is enhanced by a comfortable linen cushion. Luxurious!
5. Nishan DIning Chair
Nishan Dining Chair
Another modern take on mid century modern design this one has a hint of industrial styling but the weave on the back softens its appearance. This could be a classic in the making. And not a bad price either.
6. Ubud Rattan Dining Chiar
Ubud Rattan Dining Chair
Taking inspiration from Franco Albini’s cane chairs from the 1950s the Ubud rattan dining chair brings a lot of mid century Italian glamour to the dining room, kitchen or terrace. Like the American post war designers Albini created affordable furniture for mass production but he preferred the charm and warmth of traditional materials, such as cane. Rattan has had a huge comeback of late and these chairs a a great way to introduce it to your home.
7. Lule Dining Chair
Lule Carver Chairs (Set of 2)
These upholstered chairs make a very comfortable seat for dining or even as an occasional chair in the living room. The dark splayed legs add the requisite mid century feel. Sold as a pair they are very reasonably priced.
If you don’t see anything that tickles your fancy try browsing all of the mid century chairs we have found.