Commissioned with a multi-disciplined project - the SAS Royal Hotel in Denmark - Arne Jacobsen came up trumps when he penned the Egg Chair as part of the interior fit-out. Entirely juxtaposed to the angular high-rise building it was designed for the curvy and Barbarella-esq Egg Chair set the style-tone on the very cusp of the 1960s mid-century modern furniture era. Now world-famous, we roll the iconic egg out to find out more.
THE EGG CHAIR
Danish-born architect and designer Arne Jacobsen was handed a metaphorical golden egg when he was asked to design a brand new high-rise hotel for the Scandinavian Airlines System travel company in Denmark. An architect’s dream, surely? Jacobsen was tasked with designing everything from the ground up; outside and in.
The SAS Royal Hotel was unveiled in 1960 and it marked the beginning of a new unprecedented era for design and style. It was the time of the Beatles, fashion models and, importantly, international travel. The Egg Chair set new style standards and is considered one of the original Scandinavian design classics. Everyone who was anyone had to have one, and the fact that it was part of the new SAS Royal Hotel design immediately catapulted the Egg Chair into the interiors fashion limelight. Its association with airplanes and travel made it the must have piece. Its popularity hasn’t waned either, cementing it into modern interior design history as of the key design classic interiors pieces.
Considered a triumph of furniture design, among the greats like the Eames Lounge Chair, the Egg Chair was the first piece of furniture to be made from a strong foam inner shell, hiding underneath the taught upholstery. Jacobsen apparently crafted the prototype chair using clay, in a bid to achieve the perfect shape! Available in a variety of fabric upholstery options, the chair can also be purchased in leather too. And there’s a matching footstool, to partner up.A design double act if ever there was one.
There are quite a few variants on the market, but our tip is to look for an Egg Chair that has the Fritz Hansen brand makers mark, and then you know you’ll be buying the original standard of design and craftsmanship.
WHEN WAS THE EGG CHAIR DESIGNED?
Designed during the late 1950s and launched in 1960 as a key design piece in the fit-out of the new SAS Royal Hotel in Denmark, the Egg Chair was and still is the archetypal 1960s style and shape that society associates with the vibrant and fun-loving decade of the 1960s. The hours of research and development that Jacobsen put into the clay sculpting and design of the Egg Chair paid off, as it quickly gained popularity and has, over the past fifty years, cemented itself as a design classic staple and interior favourite.
WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY ABOUT THE EGG CHAIR
“We recently partnered with Fritz Hansen to create fully exclusive velvet editions of the Egg and Swan chair," says Campbell Thompson, Head of Buying Furniture & Lighting, The Conran Shop (opens in new tab). "The Egg chair has never been upholstered in velvet before but the innovative new Kvadrat Gentle fabric has the stretch properties required to cover the unique Egg chair form; and our customers have been buying it for an accent lounge chair to work in both living room and bedroom spaces. It goes beautifully with the AJ floor lamp which was designed at the same time for the SAS Royal Copenhagen hotel in 1958 and both can still be seen there today, which is pretty special.”
“I have been asked specifically to include the Egg Chair on more than one occasion when designing interior schemes for clients," says Elizabeth Keenan, Founder and Interior Designer, Elizabeth Keenan Studio. The leather variant is handmade with 1,000 stitches - quality and craftsmanship always speaks volumes, and that’s why it’s a design classic.”
“The Egg chair by Arne Jacobsen is a beloved design classic, providing space to hide away from the world," says Berengere Favraud, Brands Buyer, Heal’s (opens in new tab). Designed by Arne Jacobsen, a pioneer working at the pinnacle of modern Danish design, the chair lends itself beautifully to any home setting, from modern contemporary apartment to a traditional townhouse. At Heal’s we have seen an 91% increase in sales since March 2020 lockdown, as customers continue to invest, particularly in design pieces like the Egg Chair, that will last a lifetime” -
HOW TO STYLE THE EGG CHAIR
- Be an out-and-out modernist and style up the Egg Chair in a mid-century surrounding with other Scandinavian-style mid-century design pieces, or icons like the Frank Gehry Wiggle Side chair.
- Create an homage to the 1960s and zone an Egg Chair in one of the brighter fabric upholstery options with a side table and lava lamp - get your groove on, baby!
- Opt for both the Egg Chair chair and the matching stool to create the ultimate curvaceous seating statement in a corner spot.
- Redesigning a home or commercial office space? The Egg Chair is a welcome style statement for an office environment - it’s immediately disarming in a professional environment and oozes that 1960s fun factor!
- Use with other mid-century modern classics like the Vitra Eames House Bird.
WHERE TO BUY THE EGG CHAIR
- Buy the Egg Chair in Divina fabric from Heal’s from £6,165.60 here (opens in new tab).
- Buy the Egg Chair in Divina Fabric from The Conran Shop from £6,166 here (opens in new tab)
- Buy the Egg Chair in Divina Fabric from Go Furniture from £6,165.60 here (opens in new tab)
PICTURES OF THE EGG CHAIR
Rory Alastair Robertson has a long-standing history working across the interiors industry. Raised in Morningside, Edinburgh, Rory grew up surrounded by classically grand Scottish Georgian and Victorian architecture.
His first appreciation for interior decoration sparked when his mother hired scaffolding and decorated their three-storey Victorian staircase in Farrow & Ball Picture Gallery Red, by herself. She then painstakingly gold leafed the drawing room - by hand - over a base coat of Sudbury Yellow. This was the era of Jocasta Innes and Kenneth Turner, when paint techniques and maximalist style were the decorating raison d'être.
With this inherited gene of creativity, Rory went on to study Interior Architecture at the University of Edinburgh, and later, Theatre Set Design and Architectural Illustration at The Rhode Island School of Design on America's East Coast.
Rory's foray with the editorial world started a decade ago at Livingetc magazine, a title which he regularly contributes to today. Specialising with a deep-seated appreciation for historical homes and interiors, Rory often travels far and wide to be inspired by unique properties with a fascinating history.
If he’s not uncovering an unusual National Trust property in the UK, then he’s seeking out a Neo-Classical clifftop villa in Capri or a Palazzo in Florence.
Based in London’s Shoreditch, working as a Senior Interiors Editor and Consultant, Rory's portfolio of work is a creative melting pot of residential and commercial interior design projects and a plethora of editorial writing work. Rory is also Guest Interiors Lecturer at the prestigious KLC School of Interior Design in Chelsea, London. His most cosseted possession is a ramshackle Citroen Deux Chevaux, which he has reupholstered in Pierre Frey yellow and turquoise silk fabric.
Discover more at roryrobertson.co.uk and @rory_stylist.
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