5 Inspiring Pieces of Furniture Designed by Architects

Some of the greatest architects of our time have contributed incredible work to the world of furniture design.
5 Inspiring Pieces of Furniture Designed by Architects

Last update: 26 May, 2020

When it comes to decorating a home, furniture designed by architects can be very inspiring. The design of a building’s furniture is just as important as the design of the building itself.

Furniture brings life and harmony into any space. Its design is always an important component of a building’s architecture. Examples from the 20th century demonstrate that furniture is very key to building design.

It was in the 20th century that architects started to design, among other things, chairs, sofas, and armchairs, later moving into mass production. The German art school Bauhaus served as the laboratory where architects first began to blend architecture and design.

In this post you’ll find a collection of architect-designed furniture to inspire your creativity.

Furniture designed by architects

1. Calvet chair

The Calvet armchair.

The Catalan architect Antonio Gaudi designed this wooden chair as part of a modernist-inspired furniture collection, which also included a writing desk, stool, mirror, chair, and bench. The armchair itself is easily recognizable for its characteristic back, which Gaudi shaped like a heart.

Gaudi designed this armchair specifically for the Casa Calvet in Barcelona, his first housing construction project. This project received the best building of the year award in 1900.

This modernist armchair is particularly important because, even to this day and similar to other Gaudi pieces, it’s still as modern as it was in the 20th century. This is not just a piece of furniture, but a sculpture.

 “The most important requirement for an object that is to be considered beautiful is that it fulfills the purpose for which it is destined.”

-Antonio Gaudi-

2. Barcelona chair

The Barcelona chair.

The Barcelona chair is one of the most famous and favored furniture pieces of all time. The magnificent Mies Van Der Robe and his equally talented colleague Lilly Reich designed this piece for the iconic German Pavilion at the International Exposition of 1929. Mies strived to achieve perfection in all of his artwork, architecture projects, and furniture designs.

Foldable chairs and the X-shaped footrests that pharaohs once used were the inspiration for this chair’s design. This is a chair with not only an impressive aesthetic but also a comfortable and functional design that catches the eye in any space.

With matching proportions and a simple shape, the Barcelona chair is an exquisite mix of traditional and modern materials. It’s an icon of modern architecture. When it comes to interior design, this is perhaps the most inspiring piece of furniture designed by architects. 

3. Furniture designed by architects – the Paimio chair

The Paimio chair, a piece of furniture designed by architects.

The Paimio chair was part of a collection by the talented Finnish architect Alvar Aalto. He designed this chair for the Paimio tuberculosis sanatorium to help patients, following the institution’s hygiene guidelines. Aalto also took inspiration from the Wassily chair, a previous design by Marcel Breuer.

However, this chair is different from that of Breuer in that it is made of wood, not steel, as this was better suited to the sanatorium project.

The Paimio chair is made of two laminated wooden frames for the arms and one laminated piece of birch wood for the seat and back. The chair’s curvature was designed to improve the breathing of sick patients. This is a chair with relaxation and healing in mind.

4. DSW chair

The DSW chair, a piece of furniture designed by architects.

In the late 20th century, husband and wife Charles and Ray Eames designed a diverse range of architecture and furniture. One of their well-known collections was the Molded Plastic Chair, otherwise known as the Eames Chair. This collection included the iconic DSW chair, which the couple designed in 1950.

It’s important to mention that the Eames always strived to design their furniture at a low cost. The DSW chair is made with fiberglass, whereas other models were made in metal and were eventually too expensive.

The DSW chair won a design competition organized by the New York MoMA and became the first plastic chair to be industrially manufactured.

This range of chairs, which the Eames called the Eames Molded Plastic Chair, included various models. The DSW (Dining Height Side Chair Wooden Base), a chair without arms, and the DAW (Dining Height Armchair Wooden), a chair with arms, are the main highlights of the range.

The range also offers a variety of materials. You can choose from a chair with wooden or polished steel legs, or a wire or aluminum frame, for example. There is also a stackable version and a rocking chair version.

5. Tulip table and chair

The Tulip chair, a piece of furniture designed by architects.

Eero Saarinen designed the Tulip table and chair in 1956. Thanks to their avant-garde style, these pieces continue to be classics in interior design to this day. Saarinen believed that the traditional table and chairs with four legs were terrible. He, therefore, decided to design and construct the Tulip collection (which includes chairs and tables) to “get rid of the forest of legs”, in his own words.

Saarinen originally designed the Tulip table with a brilliant white finish. It is practical, elegant, timeless, and, above all, very modern. The Tulip chair has a retro-futurist style and reflects Saarinen’s vision of the future of furniture design in the 1950s and 1960s

The Tulip collection includes a mix of colors, shapes, and materials. The chair and table bases are made from varnished aluminum. The seat itself is made from ABS plastic, with velcro fixing the cushion to the seat. The Tulip collection also includes chairs with arm supports, chairs without arm supports, stools, and tables of various sizes.

Furniture designed by architects – it’s your choice

In conclusion, this is just a summary of the different pieces of inspiring furniture designed by architects. These are pieces that continue to be popular to this day and that could bring beauty into your home. While it’s clear that architecture and furniture design certainly go hand in hand, it’s over to you to decide which pieces would work best in your home.