Design classics aren’t just for interiors. In fact, a crop of notable 20th-century designers made dining and lounge chairs for the outdoors (and/or their designs were later reworked for outdoor use). From the Eameses to Jens Risom to brands including Tolix and Fermob, here are our 12 favorite classic outdoor chair designs.
Above: Designed for the Festival of Britain in 1951 by Ernest Race, the Antelope Standard Chair is made of cast recycled aluminum, and a molded plywood seat is still available today via TwentyTwentyOne in the UK and comes in a few options for the frame and seat finish; £452. Above: Jens Risom’s Outdoor Side Chair is part of his original 1941 collection for Knoll made of teak and canvas webbing. The chair has been re-engineered for outdoor use by Knoll with the teak frame now finished and sealed with oil and the canvas webbing swapped for Sunbrella fabric; $1,034 at Hive. Above: In the 1950s Charles and Ray Eames experimented with bent and welded wire to recreate their iconic shell chair. The experiments resulted in the Eames Wire Outdoor Chair produced today through Herman Miller in black or white powder-coating; $860 at Smart Furniture. Above: Verner Panton’s Bachelor Chair was designed in 1955 with tubular stainless steel and a stretched acrylic canvas seat (available in a range of colors). The chair is really more of an indoor/outdoor chair, or as retailer Danish Design Store puts it, the chair “can also withstand a trip into the garden and then back into the sitting room.” It’s $599 at Danish Design Store. Above: In 1965 Joe Colombo made the 4801 Joe Colombo Armchair for Kartell entirely out of wood. The design has since been reworked, in typical Kartell fashion, into engineered plastic that has been batch-dyed in white or black, or rendered in transparent PMMA plastic, making it suitable for outdoor use; $3,070 through YLiving. Above: The BK11 Lounge Chair by Bodil Kjær for Carl Hansen & Son is intended for outdoor use as part of a 1959 collection of outdoor furniture by Kjær. It’s made of oiled teak for $1,160 at Danish Design Store. Above: Then, of course, there’s the classic Tolix Fauteuil A56 Chair designed in 1927 by Xavier Pauchard (and later, by son Jean Pauchard) made of lightweight sheet steel with a sealed finish; £278 at TwentyTwentyOne in the UK. Above: Another Verner Panton design, the Panton Chair, shown in White, was designed in 1960 from durable colored polypropylene with a matte finish. It has an ergonomically shaped seat, is suitable for outdoor use, and still manufactured through Vitra; $310 at Finnish Design Store. Above: Charlotte Perriand’s 522 Tokyo Chaise Lounge was originally designed in 1940 when Perriand took inspiration from Japanese architecture, but the chair wasn’t produced until 2012 by Cassina. It’s made of 12 curved teak or bamboo strips and comes with water-draining polyurethane upholstery and stain-resistant polyester yarn coated in PVC (for outdoor use). The chaise should not be exposed to rain or prolonged humidity and comes with a waterproof cover for the winter season. Available through Cassina for $8,445. Above: The Fermob Luxembourg Chair is modeled after the 1923 Fermob chairs at the Jardin du Luxembourg in Paris, updated for private gardens and homes. It’s available in a range of colors, including the green color seen around Paris (see our post 10 Easy Pieces: Sage Green Outdoor Chairs for the Parisian Garden); $350 at Finnish Design Store. Above: Swiss industrial designer Willy Guhl made the Loop Chair in 1954 of lightweight natural fiber cement (cement, powdered limestone, cellulose, and synthetic fibers). While it’s made for either outdoor or indoor spaces, it’s typically seen as an outdoor lounge chair (see the top image from a garden featured in our book ). It’s $1,200 at Stardust Modern. Gardenista: The Definitive Guide to Stylish Outdoor Spaces Above: Last but not least, the Paulistano Armchair was designed in 1957 by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha for the Paulistano Athletic Club in São Paulo, Brazil. In 2012, it was adapted by Mendes da Rocha as the Paulistano Outdoor Chair with a waterproof and stain-resistant canvas cover, as opposed to the leather cover of its indoor counterpart. It comes in 8 different colors of canvas and the option of black or white steel; €890 at Objekto and also available at Espasso in New York.
Looking for more outdoor seating? See our posts: