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Mid-Mod Style Guide: 15 Iconic Scandinavian Chairs

January 22, 2020

Meet the midcentury modern classics that are the little black dress of decor. These curvy, minimalist masterpieces come from a design tradition that originated in Nordic countries in the 1940s and rules the design world till this day.

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Photo: Molly Culver Photography. From: Becca Stephens Interiors.

Eternally in Style

Why have these decades-old designs endured? “The materials are so high quality; there’s a lot of solid teak and rosewood,” says Wava Carpenter, director of content at Pamono, an online seller of high-end furniture and design objects. “The shapes are so sculptural, like works of art. They are really made to last, which is a nice contrast to the throw-away culture most of us see today.”

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Photo: Pamono

Tulip Chair

Finnish-American designer and architect Eero Saarinen created his Tulip Chair in 1955 as a dining chair, but it also makes a great accent or office chair. Saarinen, who also designed the TWA Flight Center, is the Michelangelo of modernism. Knoll still makes Tulip chairs, three generations after its introduction, proving great design is eternal.

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Photo: Pamono

Womb Chair

Saarinen designed the groundbreaking Womb Chair in 1948 when famed interior designer Florence Knoll asked him to make “a chair that was like a basketful of pillows.” Americans were home from the war and ready to curl up at home and feel safe, she reasoned. Saarinen delivered with a style icon that lets you sit in an oasis of calm — hence its name. Pair with the matching ottoman for maximum cushy style.

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Photo: Pamono

Swan Chair

Danish architect and designer Arne Jacobson created the Swan Chair in 1958 for the SAS Royal Hotel lobby in Copenhagen and it has been in production ever since. Although designed for commercial use, it’s right at home in your living room as an arm chair. The Swan Chair comes with a hefty price tag: the 60th anniversary edition sells for $9,000. This is investment furniture.

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