12 iconic chair designs that have stood the test of time

H&G's edit of the most important chair designs of the 20th and 21st centuries

209 BENTWOOD ARMCHAIRs 1900 By Gebrüder Thonet around dining table
(Image credit: Thonet)

Is there any other item of furniture more revered than the humble chair? Interior design experts, collectors, and enthusiasts alike will often tell you that a good chair has been their all-time favorite investment, usually ready to recite a wishlist of future icons they hope to seek out.

It's hard to think of another piece of furniture that has such personality. A chair can be soft and welcoming, time-worn and austere, wiggly and playful. An accent chair in a corner of a room is like a friendly open invitation to relax.

What's more, an iconic chair is an accessible way to update a room in an instant, nailing furniture trends, without having to overhaul a room. We've chosen some of the most characterful chairs of the past century. From cafe classics, simple stools, Scandi cool to cozy and oversized, here is our pick of collectible classics to add to your wishlist.

Panton chair, 1959 Verner Panton; manufactured by Vitra

fritz hansen chair

Egg chair, 1958 By Arne Jacobsen; manufactured by Fritz Hansen

(Image credit: Fritz Hansen)
With contributions from