As different as the design classics of the 20th century may be, they also have a lot in common: they share not only a timelessly aesthetic, they also stand out for their outstanding quality and make it clear when they were conceived and designed. At that time, their designers were looking for new solutions and produced innovative furniture and lamps which are by no means outdated today, always look modern and complement every living and business area in a stylish, long-term way - real classics indeed.
One such classic is the String shelving system by the Swedish designer Nisse Strinning. The design dates back to 1949 yet still meets almost all the requirements that can be placed on a modular, functional shelving system - a true timeless classic. The most striking feature of the String shelving is the fragile wall or floor ladders, onto which the shelves and additional modules are attached. and which mean that there are countless ways to customize the String system to your very own requirements.
Indisputable classics are also a series of chairs that designer legend Arne Jacobsen produced together with the Danish furniture manufacturer Fritz Hansen. The Ant marking the beginning. Launched in 1952 this chair was one of the first to be formed from a laminated veneer panel, initially a three legged object, Arne Jacobsen later created a version with four legs and today both are produced. Three years later, Jacobsen's most famous and best-selling chair, the Series 7 chair, was launched. This also consists of a one-piece veneer wood board, which is brought into shape by a special process. The trio was completed by the 1957 Grand Prix chair. In the same year he received the Grand Prix at the Milan Furniture Fair, one of the most important awards of the time. In addition, Arne Jacobsen designed the Egg Chair and the Swan Armchair, both in 1958, for the lobby and lounge area of the SAS Royal Hotel in Copenhagen. With the commission to design the hotel building, the entire design of the interior was connected, which in addition to the lounge chairs Swan and Egg, also resulted in further iconic designs - from textiles to the AJ floor lamp to a futuristic cutlery series.
When talking about design classics, Charles & Ray Eames must always be included. For many years they busied themselves with the task of developing a seat shell which adapts perfectly to the body. In 1950, two Eames fiberglass seats, revolutionary for the time, came on the market: the A-shell with armrests and the S-shell without armrests. From them Charles and Ray Eames created a family of chairs where the base can be selected to match the location and use, while the seat remains the same familiar, comfortable shell. The Eames Lounge chairs have also set new standards in the Lounge Chair area: The Eames Lounge Chair, which was completed in 1956, is lighter, more elegant and more modern than its predecessors, and offers extraordinary comfort without any chunky design. An Ottoman in the same design complements the Eames lounge chair. The design of the Ray and Charles Eames Lounge Chairs is characterized by the use of modern interpretations on such a traditional piece of furniture. The result is a successful interplay of curved laminated wood shells and upholstery with leather upholstery.
But not only the Eames, also Verner Panton developed a design classic with a novel chair design, and that manufactured by Vitra. The Panton Chair is regarded as the "first one piece chair" and thanks to its fluid dynamics is unquestionably one of the most revolutionary furniture designs of the 20th century. The ergonomic cantilever chair with its unique concave curvature is a legendary landmark of the 1960s and a modern style guarantor at the same time.
One of the most successful ranges of Italian furniture manufacturer Cassina is the LC collection: a furniture series of high-quality armchairs, sofas, chairs and tables, as well as the LC4 chaise longue, which was designed by the eponymous architect Le Corbusier in collaboration with Charlotte Perriand and Pierre Jeanneret. The continued success of the LC furniture is due to its exceptional design, functionality, characteristic, contemporary aesthetics, and the unparalleled quality that Cassina has produced for over 50 years. In producing the design classics, Cassina relies on the combination of modern technology and proven craftsmanship.
A genuine 20th century classic is the Barcelona Chair by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. With the work he deliberately sought an elegant and monumental seating solution for the 1929 World's Fair in Barcelona, among others for the Spanish royal couple themselves. Characteristic is the perfect combination of wide seat and backrest and the x-shaped, discretely curved legs, which give the Barcelona Chair its light and almost floating character. In the history of design of the twentieth century, the Barcelona armchair is considered groundbreaking and iconographic. Since the 1950s the lounge chair has been produced by the American furniture manufacturer Knoll International according to the original specifications.
A milestone in furniture history is also the invention of the cantilever chair. The creators of this chair design are the Bauhaus students Marcel Breuer (S 32/S 64) and Mart Stam (S 43). Marcel Breuer developed his B3 Wassily Chair in 1925 from bent tubular steel, but not yet with a self-supporting frame. Breuer worked from 1928, following his time at the Bauhaus, in Berlin on the chair, which has been produced since 1929/30 by Thonet as S 32 without armrests and S 64 with armrests, and is also known as Cesca chair. Said cantilever chairs are defined by the curved steel tube frame, which makes a conventional four-legged construction dispensable and makes possible the swinging character of the chair.
Eero Saarinen is one of the most famous architects and designers of the 20th century. Especially his Pedestal Collection gave him worldwide fame. Saarinen produced the Saarinen Tulip Chairs and a number of dining, coffee and side tables in collaboration with the American furniture manufacturer Knoll International from 1955 to 1957. They all have one thing in common: They stand on one leg and in their slender silhouette remind one of a flowering tulip. The flowing, filigree, shape of the furniture was groundbreaking for a range of designs that were to follow Saarinen's creation and continues to make it one of the most significant classics of the 20th century, which is also on display in many designs at MoMA New York. Even after more than half a century, the timeless Pedestal Collection is extremely contemporary.
In addition, selected lamps, such as the PH lamps designed by Poul Henningsen also make it into the ranks of the undisputed design classics of the past century. The design of the PH 4/3 pendant lamp, which innovatively implemented the idea of glare-free, targeted light, dates back to 1966 and is still being manufactured by Danish manufacturer Louis Poulsen. It is an example of the interplay of design and technology. Today Poul Henningsen lamps are available in a wide range of designs: including the PH 5 Classic, which is available only with a matt white painted shade and purple painted aluminium braces, or the PH 50, the PH 5 which comes in new, exciting colours.