Archetypes: Chairs

Four eminent designers review a curated collection of dining room chairs for ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME, each using their artistic eye to pinpoint the specific elements that embody a truly classic design.

The following insightful observations identify the chairs’ best attributes, honing in on features that offer equal measures of style, refinement and supreme comfort. Which one is your favorite?


amirkhamneipurAMIR KHAMNEIPUR | As the founder and principal of Amir Khamneipur Design, Amir specializes in architectural, residential and commercial spaces. The firm’s finely-tailored look enhances residential projects from New York City apartments to estates in the Hamptons. Amir has been the Design Director for several of America’s top Furniture and Accessories showrooms. His work has been featured in major publications and his current furniture collection is available exclusively through Amir Khamneipur Design. Amir studied design in Paris, Barcelona, and the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design.

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LEFT:Agnes Chair by Jean de Merry Platinum Polish: The Agnes Chair embodies finesse and elegance. Sleek and almost skeletal in its appearance, it blends perfectly with cool tones and structured, slender surroundings. The polished platinum finish makes it easy to blend in any color palette or wood tonality. The seat is extremely comfortable, and I have found the pitch to be ideal for both dining and working at a desk. Jean de Merry’s collection of furniture is very sexy and refined. This chair lives up to their quality and aesthetic. RIGHT: Barnett Arm Dining Chair by Studio Van den Akker Simply Structured: The Barnett Arm Dining Chair reads very architectural to me. Whether it’s for a modern and linear space or for a more masculine and refined space, this chair works well. The size and shape cradle a person’s form perfectly to achieve the ideal comfort. The double spine in the back gives not only an opportunity to create a continuous vertical pattern around the table, but also a chance to bring in another finish. The combination of fabric upholstery and vertical lacquer, wood or metallic lead finishes allows the designer to truly elevate the dining area to another level.
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LEFT: Brampton Dining Chair by Dmitriy & Co. Enduring Style: The Brampton Dining Chair is completely unique in my opinion. The mattress stitch detail is very chic and brings this chair to an elevated, yet semi-traditional level not seen before. The clean lines allow this chair to be used in practically any interior; however, for me, it belongs in a traditional setting. I would upholster the back in leather and the seat in a textured solid fabric to match in color, yet in a darker shade. The legs and frame would be stunningly lacquered to match the same color as the seat. Dmitriy & Co. have made a great contribution with this elegant chair. Available through Dmitriy & Co. RIGHT: Hahn Arm Chair by Bright Chair Bold Interpretation: The Hahn Arm Chair is a fabulous and very new interpretation of some vintage frames I have seen. It’s completely new in its spirit, sensual lines and wood profiles. I fell in love with it the first time I saw it. The armrests make it perfect for a client in search of comfort and utility. It allows getting in and out of a seat effortless. I love the way Bright Chair upholsters and displays their furniture; they really know how to make elegant and tailored designs!

williammcintoshWILLIAM MCINTOSH | Tailored, modern and elegant… rough, sleek and bold… Interiors by William McIntosh are individually conceived and meticulously crafted. Born in upstate New York, McIntosh studied interior design at Pratt Institute. After graduating in 1980, he worked for the noted interior design firms of Timothy MacDonald Incorporated and Bray-Schaible Design, establishing his namesake firm in 1990. With a dedicated creative and artistic team, McIntosh continues to produce the thoughtful, intelligent and personal interiors that have established him among a loyal and growing clientele.

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LEFT: Florence Chair by John Boone Inc. Smartly Rendered: I recently rediscovered this chair. It’s been in John Boone’s line for quite a while, and I think it is looking really smart and contemporary again. It has a certain midcentury swank to it. There is something about it that suggests ladies gossiping around a game table in a glass-walled Palm Springs house, or cocktails at a really great supper club somewhere. Comfortable, generous and smart looking, it’s a good-time chair. Available through John Boone Inc. RIGHT: Era Armchair from Thonet Timeless Aesthetic: I have a memory of this chair from my days as a student at Pratt; to me, this is the quintessential architect’s chair. Le Corbusier used this chair repeatedly. Philip Johnson had this chair in his personal library. Again, this is one of those chairs that bridges modern and traditional aesthetics, and I am always drawn to that. It’s now available in a variety of colors and wood finishes so it takes on a different vibe depending on how you spec it – from somewhat sober and reserved to crisp and modern.
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LEFT: Cab Chair by Mario Bellini Easy Fit: This chair is on every designer’s top 10 favorite list. It just does everything right. From its handsome, wide stance proportions to its honest structural materiality, it is a total pleasure. This is the chair you go to when you want to bridge modern and traditional – when you want to lend warmth and material substance to a modern space, or lend a bit of modern energy to a formal traditional space, but maintain respect for the overall design and not stand out too much. Available through Cassina. RIGHT: Indochine Chair by Charlotte Perriand Modern Statement: This is a wonderful variation on the better known LC7 chair with the metal base. To my eye, this version seems more cohesive and better proportioned. The warmth and soft edges of the wood allow the chair a happy suitability to a variety of spaces and makes for a more interesting mix with the leather or fabric upholstery. This is a versatile little chair, from dining to living to library. Oddly it strikes me as both masculine and feminine.

gideonmendelsonGIDEON MENDELSON | The Mendelson Group was incorporated in 2003 by its principal, Gideon Mendelson. A graduate of Columbia University with a degree in architecture and the New York School of Interior Design, Mendelson brings a classically based, yet fresh and modern aesthetic to his projects. Mendelson Group’s goal is to create functional, comfortable spaces that are not only aesthetically pleasing, but are also timeless, youthful and energetic in design. A single principle guides this firm: From the initial consultation, through architectural and decorative planning, to construction and installation, the client’s satisfaction is first priority.

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LEFT: Promenade Caned Armchair by Lorin Marsh Cool Factor: The Promenade Caned Armchair by Lorin Marsh is both sexy and cool. Everything they do is! The combination of upholstery, wood, caning and brass is effortless. It’s clearly a nod to midcentury design, but it’s forever modern. No wonder it sits around my breakfast table! RIGHT: Auster Chair by Dmitriy & Co. Deceptively Simple: The Auster Chair by Dmitriy & Co. is beautifully detailed, but its simplicity is what steals the show. The slight curvature to the seat and the stretchers are quiet and elegant. It’s a contemporary take on a classic chair. It can live effortlessly in both a modern and traditional interior. I’ll take a set of 10, thank you very much!
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LEFT: Dover Chair by Roman Thomas Daring Details: The Dover Chair by Roman Thomas epitomizes quality and sophistication. I love the architectural lines and how the wood seems to penetrate through the upholstery. Depending on the finish, it can be successful in both a town and country setting. The attention to detail is clear – conical legs, brass sabots and nail head trim. It’s a classic! RIGHT: Iris Chair by Mattia Bonetti Playful Vibe: The Iris Chair by Mattia Bonetti is a piece of art. It’s “Alice in Wonderland” meets Gio Ponti – classic and whimsical. The asymmetry and curvaceous lines showcase craftsmanship and creativity. I can’t stop looking at it; it’s simply addicting. Bring me a client who has the personality and guts for this!

rajiradhakrishnan chairRAJI RADHAKRISHNAN | Founded by principal interior designer Raji Radhakrishnan, Raji RM & Associates is an interior design firm working on city and country homes in the Washington, D.C. and New York areas. Radhakrishnan’s design approach is unique and creative, but it is the way she balances all the elements that has industry insiders describing her work as “Pitch Perfect.” Architectural details, exceptional craftsmanship, carefully selected pieces and comfortable perches are brought together to create rooms that make you want to stay, live in and enjoy.

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LEFT: Sitting on a Cloud Dining Chair by Andree Putman Lighthearted Approach: This is a refined but fun chair! There are not many dining chairs that can effectively conjure up the feeling of both elegance and cuteness at the same time. It cuts the seriousness and puts a smile on your face. RIGHT: Nagasaki Chair by Mathieu Mategot Spirited Outlook: Almost like a kid’s chair, the lines, colors and lightness of this chair lends themselves perfectly to gathering around in a casual and happy setting! No fuss, no muss. Just cool, with a pull-me-up attitude. It’s a timeless, modern piece.
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LEFT: PK11 Chair by Fritz Hansen Clever Angles: Another timeless classic where form and function couldn’t coexist in a better way. The proportions of the semicircular back, the mid-seat line and the vertical lines lend itself to modern and classical dining tables equally well. RIGHT: Aubusson Dining Chair by William Switzer Sumptuous Seating: Think Hermes or a super fine yacht in Saint-Tropez – that’s the kind of place this chair belongs to. The channeled backs are a luxurious and unusual design element rarely found in smaller pieces of furniture like this.

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