leather sofassofabedsdesign classics

Design Classics Furniture

Bringing you a carefully edited selection of furniture which has been inspired by the great design classics of the 20th century. The best of modern style for the contemporary home with a level of quality beyond what the early originals could usually achieve because of the advances in manufacturing technology - but at affordable prices.
Lounger & Ottoman in Brown Leather with Rosewood
Lounger & Ottoman in Tan Leather with Rosewood
Lounger & Ottoman in White Leather with Oak
Noguchi Style Table
Corbusier Style Leather & Chrome 2 Seat Sofa
Corbusier Style Leather & Chrome 3 Seat Sofa
Corbusier Style Leather & Chrome Armchair
swan chair
DSW Style Chair x 2
DSW Style Chair x 4
Eames style DAW Armchair x 2
Eames style DAW Armchair
DSR Eiffel Style Chair x 2
DAR Eiffel Style Armchair
Egg Chair in Leather
DSR Style Eiffel Chair x 4
Tulip Table Marble Top
Barcelona Chair & Ottoman Stool - as seen in The Independent
DAR Eiffel Armchair x 2
Knoll 2 Seater
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LeatherSofasOnline range of Design Classics

In the early and middle years of the 20th century new technologies gave designers the opportunity to make new forms and designers like Eileen Grey, Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe and Charles and Ray Eames created many of the classic modern furniture designs that we recognise today.

Furniture inspired by the most important of these modern masters including Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, Charles and Ray Eames and Henry Bertoia is available in our Design Classics collection. There are also iconic pieces inspired by the designs of Isamu Noguchi, Arne Jacobsen and others. The Noguchi coffee table is a unique sculptural statement in glass and painted wood which was designed in 1948; the Jacobsen Swan and Egg chairs date from 1956.

Many years out of copyright these iconic designs are now available at prices which are affordable and comparable to furniture which has neither the heritage nor the sculptural presence of these great classics. By choosing one of these timeless 20th century icons you can add a distinction and sense of style to your home which will give you practical use and aesthetic pleasure for many, many years to come.

The modern masters of Twentieth Century furniture design

In Paris in 1928 Le Corbusier and Charlotte Perriand designed the leather and steel chaise longue which is one of the masterpieces of the Modernist movement. The following year Mies van der Rohe designed the German pavilion for the 1929 International Exposition in Barcelona. The chair he designed for the King and Queen of Spain has since been known as the Barcelona chair and is regularly seen in important modern buildings, on TV and in the movies.

Le Corbusier’s main work was as an architect. When he died in 1965 there were many tributes including from the President if the United States Lyndon B. Johnson and from the Soviet Union who said “Modern architecture has lost its greatest master”. His best known furniture pieces are the Petit Confort and Grand Confort sofas and armchairs and the iconic Corbusier chaise longue.

Mies van der Rohe, who was also an architect, is regarded as one of the leaders of the International style and is famous for his comments that “less is more” and “God is in the details”. Early in his career he worked alongside Le Corbusier in the studio of Peter Behrens. He is now best known to the general public for the Barcelona chair and stool.

Designer Furniture - “We wanted to make the best for the least” Charles Eames 1958

In the years after the Second World War the International Style was the name given to minimal modern architecture, and both Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe, by then working in the US, were among its leading exponents.

In 1941 Charles Eames, another architect, and his wife Ray turned their second bedroom into a workshop and experimented with a home-made plywood moulding machine resulting in an order for 5,000 leg splints from the US Navy. This expertise with moulded plywood led to the design of an armchair for Billy Wilder who Charles Eames had worked for as a set designer in Hollywood. Designed in 1956 the Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman is a masterpiece in black leather and moulded plywood with a five-spoke metal base.
Charles and Ray Eames had a philosophy of design which Charles encapsulated in two statements. The first expressed their desire to make good design available to everyone “We wanted to make the best for the least” and the other showed they had the same obsession as Mies “The details are not the details. They make the design”. The first of these principles is exemplified by the DSW and DSR ranges of moulded chairs and the Eames lounger ably demonstrates the second.

Eero Saarinen and Henry Bertoia, Cranbrook students of architecture and sculpture

When starting a commission for a private house, Charles Eames met the Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen who offered Eames a fellowship to study design and architecture at the Cranbrook Academy in Michigan where he met Saarinen’s son Eero. In 1940 they won the New York Museum of Modern Art furniture competition. Through his time at Cranbrook, Eames also met sculptor Henry Bertoia. Both Eero Saarinen and Bertoia created furniture designs which are regarded as modern masterpieces.

The younger Saarinen’s Tulip chair collection (known from 1956 as the Pedestal group) became widely recognised when it was used in the original Star Trek television series. Like Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe, Eero Saarinen is recognised as one of the most important architects of the 20th century.

In 1939 Henry Bertoia had his own workshop where he designed and made metal sculpture and jewellery including wedding rings for Charles and Ray Eames who he subsequently worked for in California. In the 1950s he moved to Pennsylvania where he designed the wire mesh chairs which have made him famous. He saw them as functional pieces of sculpture saying “If you look at these chairs, they are made mainly of air, like sculpture. Space passes right through them.”

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