The mid-century period between 1940 and 1975 was an incredible time for furniture, and it left us with iconic pieces that continue to inspire modern chair designs.

Mid-century furniture was a massive departure from the extravagant and ornate designs of centuries past. The mood of the period was refreshing minimalism, a blend of form and function, sleek style, and mass production. You’ll see this embodied by these iconic chairs and the contemporary seating options they inspired.

Lotti chair

Eero Saarinen’s Womb Chair

First launched in 1948, Eero Saarinen’s Womb Chair was inspired by the theory that many people haven’t felt true comfort or security since leaving the womb. He designed the piece after Florence Knoll challenged him to design the world’s most comfortable chair. With a high back, arm indentations, and wrap around edges, it’s the perfect chair for curling up in.

Eero Saarinen’s Tulip Chair

Part of Eero Saarinen’s Pedestal Collection, the Tulip Chair’s single leg beneath the seat with seemingly futuristic curved lines makes it resemble a flower atop a stalk. Tulip chairs are usually made with an aluminium base and a moulded fibreglass shell, and they usually swivel.

Get the look: The Womb and Tulip chairs meet in the Orla Kiely Lily Swivel Chair in Fabric. Small but perfectly formed, the Lily Chair has a contemporary 4-spoke brushed steel base and is available with a patterned back and plain seat. An ideal piece if you’re looking for a modern chair design for your living room.

Eames Lounge Chair

Designed by Charles and Ray Eames in 1956, the Eames Lounge Chair is said to have been inspired by a first baseman’s baseball mitt. This timeless design, a result of the Eames’ mission to create the most comfortable chair possible, was first available only in wood and black leather.

Get the Look: The Stressless Tokyo Chair & Stool with Star Base in Leather is a modern recliner that offers sublime comfort. The slim back, soft padded cushion, adjustable headrest, and matching footstool make this a must-have for the person who wants a recliner inspired by iconic modern chair design.

Stressless Tokyo chair stool

Philip Arctander’s Clam Chair

When Danish designer Philip Arctander designed what’s known today as the Arctander or Clam Chair in 1944, the chair was produced in a limited quantity. Unsurprisingly, the chair which resembles a clam shell became a collector’s piece. The designer’s grandson collaborated with the Paustian founders to re-release the chair in 2016.

Get the look: Looking for a modern designer armchair which nods in the direction of the Clam Chair? You’ll love the Mystical Chair in Fabric. With simple, straight lines and curved wooden armrests, this chair will adapt to a wide range of spaces in your home, such as the living room, study, or bedroom. The Mystical sofa range includes armchairs and matching footstools, as well as 2- and 3-seater sofas.

Mystical chair in fabric

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona Chair

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe designed the Barcelona Chair and accompanying ottoman for the Barcelona International Exhibition in 1929. The chair became a common sight in homes and movies in the 1950s and 60s, thanks to Knoll acquiring exclusive rights to produce the design in 1948.

Namon Gaston’s Oxbow Lounge Chair

Namon Gaston of Dare Studio’s Oxbow Lounge Chair is crafted from steam-bent timber and oak and is upholstered with UK-produced wool by Mourne Textiles and Eleanor Pritchard Studio. This iconic modern chair design was awarded a prestigious Design Guild Mark.

Get the look: The Barcelona Accent Chair in Fabric and matching ottoman bring together elements of the original Barcelona and Oxbow chairs, offering a dash of Mediterranean style that is at once classic and contemporary. The Barcelona sofa range also includes four different size options, matching ottomans, foot stools, storage stools, and sofa beds. The accent chair is ideal if you’re looking for a modern chair for your living room or bedroom.

Barcelona accent chair

Shop modern chairs at Fishpools

At Fishpools, we offer a range of modern chairs for your living room or bedroom to transform your home interior. Shop our collection of furniture online and discover pieces including the Corinthia Dining Chair in Velvet and the Katie Swivel Dining Chair in Velvet, which features a luxurious velvet upholstery and a clean-lined silhouette. Visit our showroom to see our range of modern chairs.