Architects are typically known for designing beautiful homes – not what’s in them. But over the years, many of the world’s most celebrated architects, from Zaha Hadid to Le Corbusier, have also designed your favourite furniture. Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, for example, known for his Lego-like structures, just unveiled his first furniture project: Voxel, a modular sofa system that can configured any which way. But Ingels is just one in a long line of architects who have tried their hand at furniture. We’ve rounded up 9 of architect-designed furniture pieces to boost your design credibility:
Zaha Hadid Mesa Glass Table
Zaha Hadid’s Mesa Table fully embodies the late architect’s core aesthetic ethos: futuristic beauty merged with organic forms. The web-like structure that forms the base was actually inspired by the hidden network of stems that are found underneath lily pads.
Frank Gehry Wiggle Chair
Canadian architect Frank Gehry has designed some of the most memorable buildings around the world, from the Guggenheim in Bilbao to the AGO in Toronto. But before he became a household name, Gehry designed the Wiggle Chair, one of the first pieces of furniture ever made from cardboard. The chair was constructed using layers of corrugated cardboard glued together in alternating directions. The substantial material offsets its playfully simple design.
Le Corbusier LC3 Collection
Le Corbusier is one of the most beloved and renowned architects in the world – but he didn’t just design buildings. His LC3 collection of chairs and sofas have become collectibles, with their oversized, boxy cushions and an unexpectedly stripped back wire frame, these pieces are statement-making and surprisingly cozy.
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe Barcelona Chair
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe believed in a less-is-more design approach. In 1929, this disciplined perspective informed the now-classic Barcelona Chair. Drawing inspiration from ancient Egyptian folding stools and modern design ideals, the chair’s simple curves and inviting shape make for a beautiful and comfortable piece.
Antonio Citterio Charles Sofa
Unveiled in 1997, the Charles seating system designed by Italian architect Antonio Citterio has become a modern icon. These timeless modular pieces work in any interior but elevate the aesthetics of even the simplest space. Lean cushions and barely-there metal legs give the Charles minimalist edge and just the right amount of luxury finish.
David Adjaye Washington Skeleton Chair
Adjaye, the youngest architect on the list, earned a name for himself designing The National Museum of African American History and Culture. In fact, he drew much aesthetic inspiration for this chair from that building. Made from die-cast aluminum, the chair has a distinct ribbing pattern and an ergonomic feel.
Eero Saarinen Tulip Table
Eero Saarinen’s Tulip Table’s flowing lines and radical simplicity has become one of the Finnish-American architect’s most recognizable designs. Introduced in 1958, the Tulip Table’s slightly futuristic style and curvature helped to eliminate what Saarinen called the “slum of legs” often found when chairs are pushed under a table. The pedestal base preserves its aesthetic identity, even when chairs are placed around it.
Arne Jacobsen Egg Chair
Sixty years later, Arne Jacobsen’s Egg Chair remains one of the foremost examples of modern furniture design. Jacobsen first molded the design in clay before developing the chair itself. Its cocoon-like shape and swivel bottom provide the sitter with some privacy in public spaces.
Rem Koolhaas 04 Counter
This simple stack of beams defies categorization. The top two levels can be rotated 360 degrees for extreme customization and the user can easily alter the piece to suit their needs for seating, as a tabletop or even both. Designed in celebration of the 75th anniversary of Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas’s firm OMA, the 04 Counter is a unique, timeless piece.