The Egg Chair Designed by Arne Jacobsen The renowned Danish designer and architect Arne Jacoben designed the Egg Chair. Initially it was upholstered in red leather, but is now available in various colours including black leather, as well as in different fabrics. “The egg chair has a bowl-shaped body which serves as its seat, back, and armrests; and a short, metal base” (Squidoo, 2011). Because the chairs were commissioned for the SAS Royal Hotel, a skyscraper designed by Jacobsen, the rounded appearance of the egg chair was meant to complement the hotel’s simple linear construction (Figs. 1 and 2). Fig.1. Arne Jacobsen’s Egg Chair Upholstered in Red Leather (ModernClassic, 2003) Fig.2. Jacobsen’s Egg Chair Covered with Fabric Upholstery (Squidoo, 2011) The unique shape of the Egg Chair (Figs. 1 and 2 ) is built using a light plaster shell injected with cold synthetic foam to make it more comfortable. The body is then upholstered with leather or fabric, and fitted at the bottom with a steel spindle and swivel, and a molded aluminium 4-star base. There is also a simple adjustment mechanism which helps to raise or lower the chair. The Egg Chair being composed of mainly plaster and leather/ fabric, is significantly light with an overall weight of 18 pounds. Modern Egg Chairs manufactured today are constructed of a lighter plastic shell that is injected with cold foam, they are then covered with high quality leather, and lightweight aluminium legs are attached at the bottom (Squidoo, 2011). Though the Egg Chair has a distinctive design, it shares great similarities with the Swan Chair, also designed for the SAS Royal Hotel. The Egg is also closely...
Jacobsen designed and launched the “egg chair” between 1957 and 1958, along with the Swan chair. He was commissioned to design chairs for the reception areas of the Royal Hotel in Copenhagen, for which he designed the “egg chair”. Over fifty years later “the hotel still boasts egg chairs within its reception areas – a testament to the original design masterpiece” (Urbanark, 2011). The modernist design of the egg chair has simple, functional lines, and is composed of minimalistic and abstract features.
Modernism is a historical tradition of design form established in the nineteenth century which was initially based on inculcating aesthetic taste to the general public. Greenhalgh (p.19) states that this approach could lead to a kind of “dictatorial determinism which ultimately came to be the most extreme of the contradictions that existed within the Modernist Movement”. Modernism is marked by its restrictive nature. In Modernist circles there was an aversion to consumption. Consequently, this resulted in the creation of the modernist austere aesthetics which stripped design down to its key components, not inviting needless consumerism.
This paper has highlighted Arne Jacobsen’s Egg Chair, examined its modernist characteristics, and explored historical factors based on modernist functionalism and mass culture, inherent to the Egg Chair and its design. The highly functional and comfortable chair continues to be popular in contemporay times more than fifty years after it was designed and developed.