The most expensive chair sold at an auction to date is the Dragon Chair. Sold for 21.9 million euros in 2009 at Christie’s Paris, the chair was designed by Irish artist and designer Eileen Gray between 1917 and 1919 for her then lover, French singer Marie-Louise Damien. Later, the chair was acquired by fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent and his business (and life) partner Pierre Bergé. Following Saint Laurent’s death, the chair was auctioned off, and it set the record for the most expensive 20th century decorative art.
“A chair’s value is determined by the design effort behind it—to create a stylistic statement or carry out an advancement in material technology,” says Shukun Bu, design director of Architology Interiors. “This is in addition to basic ergonomic considerations for a chair.”
Here’s a round-up of some timelessly stylish, investment-worthy chairs whose value, like a fine vintage, will increase as they age.
Chieftain Chair by Onecollection
An icon of Danish design, the Chieftain Chair by Finn Juhl embodies both the sculptural lines of contemporary art, and the symbols of weaponry and customs of the country’s glorious Viking days. The chair features a teak and walnut structure with leather upholstery.
LC3 by Cassina
Designed by a trio of some of the most important designers of the 20th century—Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret and Charlotte Perriand—in 1928, the LC3 sofa and armchair are parts of
Le Corbusier’s classic collection. An archetype of a modern sofa with an understated elegance, LC3 features generous paddings, loose cushions, and a chrome-plated frame. The latest model also has an outdoor version.
Barcelona Chair by Knoll
What does New York’s Museum of Modern Art have in common with James Bond’s room in Casino Royale? The Barcelona chair. Another modern icon, the chair was originally designed by Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich to furnish the German Pavilion at the International Expo in 1929, which was hosted in Barcelona. Nowadays, the stainless steel and leather chair is a staple of a sleek and sophisticated interior.
Bertoia Asymmetric Chair by Knoll
Italian-born American artist, sound art sculptor and modern furniture designer Harry Bertoia is world-famous for his 1952 wire chair collection. The most sculptural of the collection is this Bertoia Asymmetric Chaise—due to its difficult production process, it never made it into production until 2005. Now, the chair is viewed as one of the most recognised achievements in mid-century modern design.
Eames Lounge Chair by Herman Miller
A hallmark of mid-century modern elegance, the Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman instantly evoke class and sophistication. Charles and Ray Eames designed it in 1956, as their interpretation of a plush club chair. Often seen within either a masculine or minimalist interior, it comes in various permutations, including a sleek ebony version.
Ox Chair by Erik Jørgensen
“We must be careful not to take things too seriously. We must play but we must be serious about playing!” Hans J Wegner famously said in 1960 while designing a chair. The result was the iconic Ox, the legendary Danish designer’s favourite chair (and he designed about 500 chairs in his lifetime), that is best described as generous, humorous and incredibly stylish.