Highly Strung Design: Modernist String Chairs

If you have ever wondered about the answer to the question
‘how long is a piece of string’? You might be surprised to
discover that it all depends on the chair.

For me, nothing says post-war design quite like a string
chair. Free of the unnecessary padding and upholstery of
more traditional furnishings, these chairs show off their
construction elements for all the world to see. They may
not be fancy chairs, but they are certainly no ugly ducklings.
Like webbed chairs, or the furniture of early modernists
such as Marcel Breuer and Gerrit Rietveld, the string chair,
sometimes refered to as a corded chair, is an exercise
in honesty and demonstrates that beauty can be found
in simplicity.

String chairs play with light and space as they almost
shimmer like a mirage due to their semi-solid state.
And though they may not appear sturdy, it’s surprising
just how much comfort and support can be produced
using long lengths of flagline or sashcord wrapped
around a steel or timber chair frame. Which begs
yet another question, is it the string that transforms
the frame into a chair?

Being a fan of the corded furniture designed by
Clement Meadmore in Australia during the early 1950’s,
I thought it might be nice to take a look at some of the great
designs produced in other countries, both in the 1950’s and
into the 1960’s. The selection below is made up of some of
my favourite designs. Perhaps 1970’s U.K. comedians The
Goodies were right when they sang ‘everybody loves string’.

If you love string chairs or you have a favourite string chair,
please leave a comment.


Clement Meadmore corded chair, Australia, circa 1952.

Poul Kjaerholm, ‘Holscher’ chair, Denmark, circa 1952.

Unknown designer (possibly Clement Meadmore), most likely Australian, circa 1950’s.

Alan Gould Lounge Chair, U.S.A. circa 1950’s.

Carl Koch for Tubbs of Vermont, U.S.A. circa 1950’s.

Jacques Guillon, Cord Chair, Canada, circa 1953

Hans Wegner ” Flag Line ” Halyard Lounge Chair, Denmark, circa 1960’s.

Jorgen Hovelskov, ‘Harp’ Chair 1968.



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