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Hand Painted Ashwood Chair

Midcentury Gio Ponti Set of Four ‘Leggera 646’ Ashwood Italian Chairs, 1951
By Cassina, Gio Ponti
Located in Madrid, ES
reupholstered in different hand painted cotton fabric. Made in Italy. Every item LA Studio offers is checked
Category

Vintage 1950s Italian Mid-Century Modern Chairs

Materials

Cotton, Wood

Mid-Century Gio Ponti Set of Two ‘Leggera 646’ Ashwood Italian Chairs, 1951
By Gio Ponti
Located in Madrid, ES
reupholstered in different hand painted cotton fabric. Made in Italy. Every item LA Studio offers is checked
Category

Vintage 1950s Italian Mid-Century Modern Chairs

Materials

Cotton, Ash

Mid-Century Gio Ponti Set of Four ‘Leggera 646’ Ashwood Italian Chairs, 1951
By Gio Ponti
Located in Ibiza, Spain
reupholstered in different hand painted cotton fabric. Made in Italy. Every item LA Studio offers is checked
Category

Vintage 1950s Italian Mid-Century Modern Chairs

Materials

Cotton, Wood

Gio Ponti Superleggera chairs Cassina Italy 1957
By Gio Ponti, Cassina
Located in Roosendaal, Noord Brabant
grams. The frame of the chair is made from ashwood, which is light and flexible, while the seat's
Category

Vintage 1950s Italian Mid-Century Modern Chairs

Materials

Cane, Ash

Gio Ponti Superleggera chairs Cassina Italy 1957
Gio Ponti Superleggera chairs Cassina Italy 1957
H 32.68 in W 15.75 in D 17.33 in
1 Seater - Raka x Shirwani
By Raka Studio
Located in Cape Girardeau, MO
A single-seater chair designed and produced by Raka Studio and finished in collaboration with Hamza
Category

2010s Asian Art Nouveau Chaise Longues

Materials

Bentwood, Paint

1 Seater - Raka x Shirwani
1 Seater - Raka x Shirwani
H 27.96 in W 40.95 in D 24.02 in

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Italian Hand Painted Ashwood Chair "A Signurina - Palermo"
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Located in Palermo, IT
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21st Century and Contemporary Italian Mid-Century Modern Chairs

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A Close Look at Mid-Century Modern Furniture

Organically shaped, clean-lined and elegantly simple are three terms that well describe vintage mid-century modern furniture. The style, which emerged primarily in the years following World War II, is characterized by pieces that were conceived and made in an energetic, optimistic spirit by creators who believed that good design was an essential part of good living.

ORIGINS OF MID-CENTURY MODERN FURNITURE DESIGN

CHARACTERISTICS OF MID-CENTURY MODERN FURNITURE DESIGN

MID-CENTURY MODERN FURNITURE DESIGNERS TO KNOW

ICONIC MID-CENTURY MODERN FURNITURE DESIGNS

VINTAGE MID-CENTURY MODERN FURNITURE ON 1STDIBS

The mid-century modern era saw leagues of postwar American architects and designers animated by new ideas and new technology. The lean, functionalist International-style architecture of Le Corbusier and Bauhaus eminences Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Walter Gropius had been promoted in the United States during the 1930s by Philip Johnson and others. New building techniques, such as “post-and-beam” construction, allowed the International-style schemes to be realized on a small scale in open-plan houses with long walls of glass.

Materials developed for wartime use became available for domestic goods and were incorporated into mid-century modern furniture designs. Charles and Ray Eames and Eero Saarinen, who had experimented extensively with molded plywood, eagerly embraced fiberglass for pieces such as the La Chaise and the Womb chair, respectively. 

Architect, writer and designer George Nelson created with his team shades for the Bubble lamp using a new translucent polymer skin and, as design director at Herman Miller, recruited the Eameses, Alexander Girard and others for projects at the legendary Michigan furniture manufacturer

Harry Bertoia and Isamu Noguchi devised chairs and tables built of wire mesh and wire struts. Materials were repurposed too: The Danish-born designer Jens Risom created a line of chairs using surplus parachute straps for webbed seats and backrests.

The Risom lounge chair was among the first pieces of furniture commissioned and produced by legendary manufacturer Knoll, a chief influencer in the rise of modern design in the United States, thanks to the work of Florence Knoll, the pioneering architect and designer who made the firm a leader in its field. The seating that Knoll created for office spaces — as well as pieces designed by Florence initially for commercial clients — soon became desirable for the home.

As the demand for casual, uncluttered furnishings grew, more mid-century furniture designers caught the spirit.

Classically oriented creators such as Edward Wormley, house designer for Dunbar Inc., offered such pieces as the sinuous Listen to Me chaise; the British expatriate T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings switched gears, creating items such as the tiered, biomorphic Mesa table. There were Young Turks such as Paul McCobb, who designed holistic groups of sleek, blond wood furniture, and Milo Baughman, who espoused a West Coast aesthetic in minimalist teak dining tables and lushly upholstered chairs and sofas with angular steel frames.

As the collection of vintage mid-century modern chairs, dressers, coffee tables and other furniture for the living room, dining room, bedroom and elsewhere on 1stDibs demonstrates, this period saw one of the most delightful and dramatic flowerings of creativity in design history.

Finding the Right chairs for You

Chairs are an indispensable component of your home and office. Can you imagine your life without the vintage, new or antique chairs you love?

With the exception of rocking chairs, the majority of the seating in our homes today — Windsor chairs, chaise longues, wingback chairs — originated in either England or France. Art Nouveau chairs, the style of which also originated in those regions, embraced the inherent magnificence of the natural world with decorative flourishes and refined designs that blended both curved and geometric contour lines. While craftsmanship and styles have evolved in the past century, chairs have had a singular significance in our lives, no matter what your favorite chair looks like.

“The chair is the piece of furniture that is closest to human beings,” said Hans Wegner. The revered Danish cabinetmaker and furniture designer was prolific, having designed nearly 500 chairs over the course of his lifetime. His beloved designs include the Wishbone chair, the wingback Papa Bear chair and many more.

Other designers of Scandinavian modernist chairs introduced new dynamics to this staple with sculptural flowing lines, curvaceous shapes and efficient functionality. The Paimio armchair, Swan chair and Panton chair are vintage works of Finnish and Danish seating that left an indelible mark on the history of good furniture design.

“What works good is better than what looks good, because what works good lasts,” said Ray Eames

Visionary polymaths Ray and Charles Eames experimented with bent plywood and fiberglass with the goal of producing affordable furniture for a mass market. Like other celebrated mid-century modern furniture designers of elegant low-profile furnishings — among them Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Finn Juhl — the Eameses considered ergonomic support, durability and cost, all of which should be top of mind when shopping for the perfect chair. The mid-century years yielded many popular chairs.

The Eameses introduced numerous icons for manufacturer Herman Miller, such as the Eames lounge chair and ottoman, molded plywood dining chairs the DCM and DCW (which can be artfully mismatched around your dining table) and a wealth of other treasured pieces for the home and office. 

A good chair anchors us to a place and can become an object of timeless appeal. Take a seat and browse the rich variety of vintage, new and antique chairs on 1stDibs today.