Seven Classic Designs

We’re sure that most of you can spot an Eames, a Tulip or a Barcelona, but how much further does your ‘classic’ knowledge stretch. We asked Office Furniture London MD Steve Fitch – a man whose knowledge stretches a very long way indeed – to compile seven classic designs that might not be so instantly recognisable.


1. Sputnik by Stilnova
Inspired by the Sputnik satellite launched by the USSR in 1957, Stilnovo set out, in that same year, to create a ‘space age’ lighting collection. Capitalising at the time on people’s fascination and awe with everything ‘outer space’, Stilnovo’s Sputnik caught the attention of the global design community.


2. Kiki Sofa by Artek
When presented at the Milan Triennale in 1960, the Kiki Sofa took the gold medal. Legend has it that a manufacturer approached IImari Tapiovaara, asking him to design a product that made use of his surplus of metal tubing.

Butterfly Ercol

3. Butterfly Chair by Ercol
Designed by Lucian R Ercolani and groundbreaking when first launched in 1958, the chair has distinctive curved bent plies reminiscent of the profile of a butterfly’s wings. The butterfly chair is one of Ercol’s most iconic designs


4. Pollock Arm Chair by Knoll
Designed by Charles Pollock in 1960 and originally manufactured from 1964-79, the steel and leather ‘sling chair’ or ‘657’, as it is commonly referred to, offers a refined combination of materials and finishes. Tubular steel legs connect to cast aluminium arms and stretchers with exposed hardware, exemplifying Pollock’s ‘honest’ approach to design.


5. FS Line by Wilkhahn
In 1980 Klaus Franck and Werner Sauer were two young designers at Wilkhahn. Both of them wanted to create a product with natural mobility. Following intensive studies, they developed the FS-Line. The principle was quite simple, a highly flexible seat shell that adjusts automatically to any change in posture. 


6. VP Globe by Verpan
As one of Verner Panton’s most enduring creations, the VP Globe, designed in 1969, is recognised worldwide for its sculptural and futuristic form. The acrylic globe, with its system of suspended reflectors that diffuse the light and eliminate glare, is a perfect example of Panton’s unique understanding of shape, light and colour and his bold approach to combining different materials.


7. Ant Chair by Fritz Hansen
Arne Jacobson named the chair ‘Ant’ due to its appearance, resembling that of the insect.Developed in 1951 for a the canteen of a Novo Nordisk, the light, stackable seating solution was originally designed with three legs so as to avoid the user getting his/her legs tangled in those of the chair.