The designer chair market trends to invoke ideas of nostalgic and iconic pieces of yesteryear. We tend to see them as works of art, memorabilia of ideas captured in time, while contemporary furniture designs carry the label of mass production and low quality, even if they are unique designs. 

New designers are often dismissed, and their ideas are relegated to more concept than function. 

Over the years, more emphasis has been placed on quality rather than quantity, as the desire for durable, well-designed furniture increases. Young designers from all over the world are also adding a lot more of their heritage, beliefs, and culture into their pieces, as freedom of expression and experimentation continue to inspire boundaries to be pushed or even broken. 

Of course, the great designers of the past paved the way for these young designers, and their influence can still be seen in collections everywhere today. 

The C1 Lounge Chair by Johannes Budd 

Johannes Budd is based in Cologne, Germany. He describes his design style as minimalistic. He focuses on only what is essential and eliminates anything unnecessary which serves no purpose, both visually and in terms of functionality. This allows his pieces to effortlessly fit into various spaces, whilst embodying the essence of a “calm eyecatcher.” 

The C1 Lounge Chair was shortlisted in 2020 for two awards, which showcased and celebrated his talent as a newcomer in the world of furniture design. He wanted to create a piece that embodied the essence of concept meeting reality, which played with the art of drawing and physical objects.  

The chair’s steel frame was designed by drawing a single, flowing line. The chair’s acrylic seat can easily be removed and altered to suit multiple body shapes and sizes, optimizing durability, longevity, comfort, and style. 

The Bench Chair by Pauline Esparon 

Pauline Esparon is a French designer from Normandy. She loves to experiment with nature’s materials in their purest form, especially flax, as she was surrounded and inspired by it from a young age. Through her experimentation and research, she’s able to find new ways of using these, otherwise discarded, raw materials. 

The local culture surrounding flax in Europe is one of sustainability and respect for nature. However, these days 80 percent of European flax has to be shipped off to China to be processed before it is used in its final state as linen. The Bench Chair makes use of flax in its original state, therefore celebrating its raw, organic form.

The Dinaledi Chair by Atang Tshikare 

Atang Tshikare is a South African artist from Tshwane. Inspiration for the Dinaledi Chair was taken from the idea of his ancestors watching over him, as well as the future generations to come. For this piece, he teamed up with Maison Dior to create and embody the very essence of what it means for the being and spirit to coexist. 

This magical design makes use of glossy and matt black materials, like embossed leather and glass beads. He chose these materials and the color black to bring his ideas to life and represent South African and black culture. To further honor his heritage, he uses pictographs on the chair from the Banthu language, which originally come from the Congo and Niger delta.

The Gustav I by Roberta Limjap and Anna Zavalla 

Roberta Limjap and Anna Zavalla are childhood friends and designers from the Philippines. Once completing their studies in separate locations in Europe, they united once more in Manila in 2014. With a shared passion for art and design, it was at this point that they decided to finally start their furniture brand, “Raw.Tura.” The name comes from the Latin word “nature,” which translates to “natural.” 

The Gustav I was designed to be solid, yet visually “soft.” This is achieved through the use of only the best quality wood and raw materials. Like many of their designs, the entire collection encompasses a contemporary take on vintage charm, whilst remaining functional, playful, and beautiful. 

You’re never too young

While many of the most iconic chair designs tend to come from those in a more mature cohort, who have taken the time, learned from their failures, and refined their skills over the years. There are certain exceptions to the rule. 

Sometimes genius and natural talent are found in one person who can naturally pull from their inner creativity and intuitively understand how to work with specific materials. When these forces collide in one person, it does not matter what their age is or their level of experience. We find ourselves with young and hungry designers ready to break the mold. 

Success in the designer chair market might skew demographically towards the older generation, but what they provide is not only a legacy, and inspiration but learnings that a new generation can build on top of and avoid repeating the same mistakes. 

As more designers young and old continue to contribute to the space and push others creatively, that natural competition will see younger designers with fresh ideas continue to break through over time. 

While the young designers we mentioned above are an example of this emerging trend, it is undoubtedly not going to go away anytime soon. If you are a designer chair collector, perhaps it might be worth considering following young designers and taking a chance on their pieces as they build up a reputation. Who knows, having one of the originals could turn out to be a valuable piece in the future.