What is the Most Iconic Retro Modern Chair?

We will introduce you to the top 10 retro modern chairs, the designers, design style, when they were designed and where you can buy the retro chair online.

What is Retro Modern Chair?
Inside the nutshell, the retro chair is furniture style from the past, the word "retro" also refers to the "imitation" of style. The retro modern chair is then a chair produced at present time, inspired by the style of the past but it still looks like a modern design.

Unless otherwise stated, all retro modern chairs listed here are the reproductions of designer's chairs available on Amazon.com. Some details and features may be different from the original chairs.

1. Wassily Chair
Marcel Breuer, a Hungarian-born designer, is the creator of “Wassily Chair" in 1925. The word "Wassily" is named after a famous Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky. Wassily Chair follows "Dutch Neoplasticism Style" AKA "De Stijl", which is the style movement in the Netherlands.

2. Barcelona Chair
One of the prominent architects is Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. His best-known masterpiece is called "Barcelona Chair". It follows Functionalism Style of 1929 which focuses on "utility" or "beauty". This Barcelona chair looks very similar to the one by Van der Rohe. Who would have thought that the chair like this can be seen anywhere in the modern home?

3. Aalto Chair 66
Alvar 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 chair under the International style in 1935.

4. Finn Juhl 45 Chair
The furniture designer who brought Danish Modern style to international attention was Finn Juhl. One of Juhl's famous retro chairs was Finn Juhl 45 Chair in 1945. 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.
Finn Juhl 45 Chair

5. Wishbone Chair C24
Hans Wegner is a Danish Modern designer who has a very high skill in Scandinavian woodworking. His famous piece is Wishbone Chair C24 (aka The Chair of 1949.) The design of this chair was influenced by Chinese Ming Dynasty chairs with Danish design twist.

6. Eames DSW Dining Chair
The Eames DSW Dining Chair 1950 designed by Charles Eames offers a clean and minimalist line yet looks sophisticated (Mid-century Modern maximizes the use of simple and clean lines.) It's so chic that a lot of people think it's not a retro modern chair but the contemporary chair.

7. Bertoia Diamond Chair
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 (Midcentury Modern Style 1952) 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
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 one of the retro modern chairs designed by Arne Jacobsen. This Swan Chair (Modernist 1958) uses the contrasting color to create the focal point in the room. While Art Deco just focuses on style or fashion, Modernist takes into account of functionality and technology too.

9. Egg Chair
Arne Jacobsen did much design works with famous designer Alvar Aalto. However, one of his famous works was the "Egg Chair." Jacobsen's Egg Chair (Danish Modern 1958) was the attempt to break away from Danish handicraft style toward more mass production furniture. With help of modern molding technology, Jacobsen created a retro modern chair from plastic molding that looks free-flowing like sculpture.

10. Kartell Masters Chair
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. This retro modern chair (Individualist Style 1990s) was designed by Philippe Starck. The green color is the signature of an Individualist chair. It's perfect for home decoration in any room, from the patio to bedroom.

Which retro modern chair do you like the most and why?

- Toromanoff, Agata. Chairs by architects. Thames & Hudson, 2016.

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- How to Incorporate Retro Style Into Your Living Space

- 4 Most Common Interior Design Styles You Should Know

- What is Scandinavian Design and Its Furniture?

Last review and update: September 1, 2018

About the Author

Patty Benjabutr is an interior design enthusiast. She loves to write about actionable home decor knowledge because she believes interior design content is something much more than a collection of beautiful photos. You can contact Patty via e-mail.