What is Retro Chair?

Inside the nutshell, retro chairs are furniture style from the recent past. However, many people call furniture style from the year 1920 the retro style. Please note that the word "retro" refers to the "imitation" of style. Then, retro chair or retro furniture is usually not the aged furniture or old furniture.

Unless otherwise stated, all retro chairs listed here are the reproductions of designer's chairs. Some details and features may be different from the original chairs. Please note that original chairs usually stay in the museum.

1. Wassily Chair (Dutch Neoplasticism Style 1925)
Dutch Neoplasticism is also known as “De Stijl”, it's the style movement in the Netherlands. One of important furniture designers is Marcel Breuer.


Wassily Chair
As a Hungarian-born designer, he created the famous piece of furniture called “Wassily Chair” (it's named after a famous Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky.) Wassily chair is made of tubular steel and leather. Most of Breuer's famous furniture were designed in Europe. When he moved to the United States, he discontinued the furniture design and focused more on architecture.

2. Barcelona Chair (Functionalism Style 1929)
In architecture, Functionalism is the way to design to serve the purpose of the building. Function, in this case, can also mean "utility" or "beauty". One of the prominent functionalist architects is Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. His best-known masterpiece is called "Barcelona Chair".


Barcelona Chair
This Barcelona chair looks very similar to the one by Van der Rohe. The signature of Barcelo chair is stainless steel frame with genuine leather. Who would have thought that a retro chair like this can be seen anywhere in the modern home?

3. Aalto Chair 66 (International Style 1935)
International style is the architectural movement in Europe during the 1920s-1930s. The purpose of International style was to develop buildings and furniture quickly at scale following the World War. One of the most important architects is Alvar Aalto.

Aalto Chair 66
Aalto is the Finnish architect who has famous works in various styles such as International style and Scandinavian Modern design. Aalto Chair 66 is the work under International style in 1935. Aalto also founded the company named “Artek” to produce various furniture that are still in production.

4. Finn Juhl 45 (Danish Modern Style 1945)
Danish Modern is the design movement in Denmark during the 1940s-1960s. The furniture designer who brought Danish Modern style to international attention was Finn Juhl.

Finn Juhl 45 Chair
One of Juhl's famous furniture design was Finn Juhl 45 Chair. This chair has become a symbol of Juhl's design and it's called “the mother of all modern chairs.” The reason is that it features a clean yet elegant design.

5. Wishbone Chair C24 (Danish Modern Style 1949)
Since Danish Modern design spans across many years, it's quite natural to have many famous pieces to admire.

Wishbone Chair C24
Hans Wegner is a designer who has a very high skill in Scandinavian woodworking. His famous piece is Wegner Wishbone Chair C24 (aka The Chair.) The design was influenced by Chinese Ming Dynasty chairs with Danish design twist.

6. Eames DSW Dining Chair (Midcentury Modern Style 1950)
In the middle of the 20th century, there was a design movement that tried to make a twist on modern design. The mid-century Modern designer tried to combine classic style with modern design without considering the overall architecture.

Mid-century Modern maximizes the use of simple and clean lines. There are no ornate details to grab the viewer's attention away from the room. Natural wood color is predominantly used, as well as tans and beiges.

Eames DSW Dining Chair
The Eames DSW Dining Chair designed by Charles Eames offers a clean and minimalist line yet looks sophisticated. It's so chic that a lot of people think it's not a retro chair but a contemporary chair.

7. Bertoia Diamond Chair (Midcentury Modern Style 1952)
Harry Bertoia was an American designer who came to the United States in 1930. He worked as a furniture designer with Knoll Associates. His most famous work is Bertoia Diamond Chair.

Bertoia Diamond Chair

Bertoia Diamond Chair was so unique because it used steel latticework in basket-like shape. The reason it's so famous because it looks elegant, modern and light.

8. Swan Chair (Modernist Style 1958)
In Europe after World War I, there was a search for a truly modern design that reflected the 20th century. Then, the term "Modernist" was used to describe this design movement in Europe. Swan Chair is the chair designed by Arne Jacobsen.

Swan Chair

This Swan chair uses the red color which is a contrasting color. It comes with a 350-degree swivel and good leather so we are sure it will be a new focal point of your room. While Art Deco just focuses on style or fashion, Modernist takes into account of functionality and technology too.

9. Egg Chair (Danish Modern Style 1958)
Arne Jacobsen is another well-known Scandinavian Modern furniture designer. He did much design works with famous designer Alvar Aalto. However, one of his famous works was the "Egg Chair."

Egg Chair

Jacobsen's Egg Chair was the attempt to break away from Danish handicraft style toward more mass production furniture. With help of modern molding technology, Jacobsen created a chair from plastic molding that looks free-flowing like sculpture.

10. Kartell Masters Chair (Individualist Style 1990s)
In the late 20th century, a French architect and furniture designer named Philippe Starck began his new design style. He used materials such as glass, plastic and metal with unexpected shapes and forms. Most furniture in Individualist style looks like the sculpture more than the actual functioning products.

Kartell Masters Chair
This Kartell Masters Chair is a retro chair designed by Philippe Starck. The green color is the signature of Individualist chair. It's perfect for home decoration in any room, from the patio to bedroom.

That's all for the list of top 10 retro chairs. Which one do you like the most and why?