From on-your-dream-list expensive to really very affordable, my hot10 list of delectible dining chairs — although there’s actually 13!
1. The Pilotta
Designed by Rodolfo Dordoni for Cassina in 2007. Sculptural, simple and perfect.
Preferred configuration: Black without armrest.
£1,074 from Aram
2. The Isabell
Designed by Sika Design. Just something a bit cool, quirky and unexpected about this one.
£189 from SCP.
3. The 675 Case chair
Designed by Robin Day in 1952. A classic. And very comfortable!
Preferred configuration: walnut and chrome.
£275 from John Lewis
4. The Standard
Designed by Jean Prouvé in 1934 for Vitra. Just unbelievably glorious to my eye. Practically perfect n every way.
Preferred configuration: Black base with walnut backrest and seat; or Japanese red base with oak backrest and seat.
£547 from Aram.
5. The 699 Superleggera
Designed by Gio Ponti in 1957 for Cassina. A defiantly brilliant piece of design that can be picked up with one finger, hence the name.
Preferred configuration: Black with cane seat.
£1,169 from Aram.
6. The Almsta
Cheap. Handmade in bamboo and rattan. And I’m fond of it in the same way that I like number 2 on this list.
£70 from IKEA.
7. The 214 Bentwood chair
Designed by Michael Thonet in the 1800s. Another practically perfect chair. Definitive yet quiet.
Preferred configuration: black stained beech with the originally specified natural cane seat.
£552 from Aram.
A variant on the 214 is Chair 14. It has a wooden seat instead of woven cane, and the swoop of the back is less refined. Nevertheless, it’s still a thing of beauty and considerably cheaper.
£149 from SCP.
There’s also Chair 18 designed by Michael Thonet’s son, August Thonet.
£149 from SCP.
8. Chair 77 by Thonet
Closer to the 214 in terms of the elegance of the back leading straight down into the legs, but more utilitarian in feel and form. Also no cane seat.
£95 from SCP.
9. The Ercol Originals All Purpose chair
Updated version based on a 1950s design by Lucian R Ercolani.
I have several of the 50s versions at home; they have 4 central spindles in a slightly taller backrest, rather than three. And top tip: if you ever see originals in a flea market, don’t be put off by the garish yellowy varnish popular at the time. Easy peasy to get them stripped and re-stained.
£315 from The White Company
10. The Gentle
Designed by the Swedish trio, Front, for the Italian brand Porro in 2012. Kind of my outlier as I’m not usually one for ‘fashionable’ chairs, but thee’s something very pleasingly timeless about this one. I think it’ll become a future classic.
£645 from Aram.