Robert De Niro may not be known foremost for his interior design knowledge, but when it comes to seating he’s spot on: “If it’s the right chair, it doesn’t take too long to get comfortable in it.” So, to paraphrase De Niro, take your pick of just the “right” contemporary chair designs here—and prepare to get comfortable.
Italian-born architect and designer Lina Bo Bardi spent much of her working life in Brazil, drawn there by her fascination with Brazilian vernacular design. Although she was successful, her output wasn’t fully recognized until after her death in 1992—architecture critic Rowan Moore calls her “the most underrated architect of the 20th century.” Now Italian company Arper has revived Bo Bardi’s 1951 creation, the bowl chair. Consisting of an adjustable semispherical form resting on a metallic ring, the bowl color can be complemented by block-color or patterned cushions in contrasting shades.
Award-winning architect and designer Victoria Yakusha is the brains behind the Faina collection. Each year the Ukranian adds to the range, with products inspired by her cultural roots. Faina now has more than 60 items in five categories including a capsule clay line, upholstered furniture, lighting, and home fragrance. Recent additions include Pampukh—upholstered seating named after a traditional round fluffy bun—and these Toptun chairs. These contemporary minimalist design objects, like all Faina pieces, are the result of Yakusha’s careful exploration “of domestic traditions, materials, and craft techniques.”
Cloak and Swagger
Furniture doesn’t get more “mashed up” than this collaboration between acclaimed designer Ron Arad and homewares brand OKA. The AKO chair pays homage to Arad’s “Chair by its Cover” series from the 1980s, where he’d buy chairs at London’s Camden Market, experiment with them at his studio, and produce something new. For the AKO he’s taken an OKA Washakie Chair, with its woven horseshoe back, oak frame, and brightly colored velvet upholstery, and enveloped it in a metal cloak of highly polished steel or copper. The AKO is a limited edition, with pieces produced to order. “AKO is a play on OKA,” says Arad. “It’s the wrong way round because the pieces reflect and refract what I stole from OKA, or, if you think about it another way, what they gave me.”
Furniture designer Lorenza Bozzoli started out in fashion, graduating from Milan’s Brera Academy and moving to New York before working with the likes of Camper and Sergio Rossi. Bozzoli’s background is evident in her stylish Couture collection of home accessories, which features opulent poufs—plush, colorful ottomans that are designed and made in Italy using high-quality raw materials. The uncompromising attention to detail includes fringes woven on 18th-century looms, with each thread sewn and hand-cut by artisans. Both the fringes and velvet upholstery come in a choice of 75 colors. Every aspect of the design is created collaboratively, then signed, stamped, and numbered by Bozzoli to certify its authenticity.
The Inlet Lounge Daybed from Rhode Island-based O&G Studio is, in the words of its creator Jonathan Glatt, “an expression of one of my favorite local seascapes, a sheltered saltwater inlet, lined with trees and dunes on nearby Narragansett Bay.” The handcrafted daybed features a curved wooden silhouette with elegant spindles and can be finished in any of the company’s 18 signature stains and upholstered in leather, linen, and/or your own fabric. An Inlet Lounge Chair is also available. Both pieces adhere to O&G’s ethos of making modern heirlooms that reimagine traditional early American and New England design in a contemporary style.