Top 5 Grand Designs: Iconic Furniture and Lighting

Model: Tulip Table

Designer: Eero Saarinen

Year: 1950s

The graceful and iconic flower-inspired tulip table, first designed by architect and designer Eero Saarinen, was part of a collection put together in the 1950s. With 'visual purity' as his main goal with this design it was also important to challenge the everyday design of the four-legged chair and table and eliminate, in Saarinen's own words, the "slum of legs" in our homes and offices. The Tulip's forward thinking design and streamlined shape even garnered futuristic associations in its time, however despite this it has become a timeless object of design and a go-to for designers around the world.


Model: Eames Lounge Chair

Designer: Charles and Ray Eames

Year: 1956

Created by the iconic design duo and husband and wife, Charles and Ray Eames, the initial desire was to improve the everyday lounge chairs seen in every American home in the 50s. Its purpose was simple and that was comfort, however what was also produced was the most instantly-recognisable piece from the 20th century and still stands proud within a space as much as it did the day it was released.


Model: Florence Knoll Sofa (1954)

Designer: Florence Knoll

Year: 1954

Florence Knoll is best known as the design director of Knoll furniture company, taken on from her husband, Hans Knoll, who was killed in a car crash in 1955. Acting as the hottest record label of its time for the top-tier designers, Knoll furniture worked with the likes of Mies van der Roha and Eero Saarinen to create some of the iconic designs that we see in houses today. Florence was thus a kind of creative director for the entire furniture industry and her own designs, like the Florence Knoll Sofa, were iconic pieces in their own right. Her love of square geometry, steel, a mix of textiles and a clean form is what makes her pieces still look fresh today.


Model: Arco Floor Lamp

Designer: Achille and Pier Castiglioni

Year: 1962

The Arco floor lamp is one of the most celebrated lighting designs of the 20th century and well placed in our Top 5. Its Cararra marble base, with bevelled corners, gives rise to a dramatic steel arch and polished dome shade, while the appeal of this lamp comes from creating overhead light without the need for ceiling suspension. Admired internationally, the Arco lamp is featured in films such as James Bond 'Diamonds are Forever', the cult classic 'The Italian Job' and is also now included in the MoMA's permanent collection.


Model: Ercol Originals Loveseat

Designer: Lucian Ercolani

Year: 1943

The Ercol Loveseat, a sister to the traditional Windsor chair, is a charmingly simple example of mid-century design. With a curved back and tapered legs, this 1950's bench can either be paired with an Ercol dining table or work beautifully as a stand-alone piece.


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