The Ball Chair: Avant-Garde Innovation

If you want to give your home an innovative, pop, avant-garde touch, the Ball Chair is just what you're looking for.
The Ball Chair: Avant-Garde Innovation

Last update: 18 June, 2019

You might never have heard of a Ball Chair before. But you’ve probably seen this innovative, avant-garde seat at some point and if you have, you definitely would have thought it looked a bit strange. Still, you might not have thought about its aesthetic context.

It looks a bit like furniture from the future – like it just came off of a space ship. It has a truly original appearance, drastically breaking away from all the traditional designs for wood chairs.

They’re most common in places like clinics, public areas, tech spaces, and places like that. It’s unlikely you’ve ever seen a Ball Chair in someone’s house. People tend to decorate their homes along traditional lines, and this chair certainly isn’t that. But that doesn’t mean you can’t use it in your decor scheme!

It’s a completely groundbreaking concept for the world of interior design.

The historical and aesthetic contexts of the Ball Chair

Red and white ball chair.

The moment you lay your eyes on this chair, you can tell it’s got a unique aesthetic. In a way, you could say that the Ball Chair has an industrial style, but in a much more refined, unusual sense than you would see in industrial decor.

Eero Aarnio developed this product in 1963. He knew that the design could make a big impact. With that in mind, he took it to Cologne in 1966, for the international furniture fair where people present new products in the decor world. No surprise: it was the biggest attraction at the fair that year.

Even though other important figures in the interior design world had given their support before he presented it publically in Cologne, Aarnio was still a bit modest about his chair. He even had one in his house, as if it were just any other part of his home.

An avant-garde design

Old advertisement

Let’s look at its shape. The chair is basically an open sphere with a comfy seat inside it. Anybody can get cozy in this chair, and there’s lots of space for them to rest their whole body inside it.

  • There’s a lot of space, and if you’re entirely inside it, people won’t be able to see you from other angles. It will be like you’re in a big padded ball. You might even feel a bit isolated inside it, though, like you’re in a bubble.
  • But that’s part of the point: the goal of the Ball Chair is privacy. Being in it can push away other sounds and help you avoid the outside world, losing yourself in the seat. Now that’s a truly avant-garde concept.
  • On the bottom, there’s a single leg that also works as a swivel. This means that you can change positions and look in another direction, or just swing back and forth a bit, like a sideways rocking chair.

It’s impossible to deny that this design has changed all our traditional ideas of what a chair could be.

A very pop design

An old ad with a man on the phone

This chair is also very pop in its style. Although to be fair, what that basically means is that it’s an original, creative, futuristic design.

It’s also worth mentioning that the Ball Chair isn’t very high, which makes it much easier to fit into a room.

  • The entire inside is lined with cushions to give you maximum comfort. The cushions are also upholstered to make sure they’re as soft as possible. They come in either matte colors or patterns.
  • The shape goes perfectly with the body. Part of the inspiration for the design was a crescent moon. But of course, it also looks like a sphere that’s been sliced in half.
  • Some people have criticized it as being too closed off. Their point is that by enclosing you inside it might make you feel isolated.

Where can you buy a Ball Chair?

Red and white ball chair.

You probably won’t find a Ball Chair at a furniture store. It’s a very exclusive product and can reach some pretty high prices. Our suggestion is to look for sites that offer the product on the internet.

One great example is the Spanish company, SuperStudio. You’ll find a version there with the red coloring and a price that might still seem high. But they have a definitely quality guarantee. Don’t forget: this is a true work of art with history behind it, and it’s a big part of the pop-art movement.

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  • AA. VV.: REDiseño, Universidad de Texas, 2004.