What Makes Scandinavian Lounge Chairs So Iconic?
Peruse any interiors magazine and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a style more iconic than Scandinavian design. With its clean, minimalist and fresh aesthetic, it’s no surprise it has such broad, global appeal.
When it comes to selecting pieces for your home, you can never go wrong with Scandinavian lounge chairs. But what makes them so iconic? We took a deep dive into the industry’s top Scandinavian chair designs—and their designers—to explore what makes each piece so beloved, and how they came to inspire our own Sibley chair.
The Wishbone Chair
The Wishbone Chair, Hans J. Wegner (image credit: https://www.carlhansen.com/en/collection/chairs/ch24)
As renowned designer Hans J. Wegner puts it, “A chair is to have no backside. It should be beautiful from all sides and angles.” It’s with this ethos in mind that the famous and truly iconic Wishbone chair was invented.
Also called the Y chair, it was the very first model Wegner designed exclusively for Carl Hansen & Søn in 1949, and it has been in continuous production since 1950. The inspiration for this piece comes from ‘the minimalist design of the Ming Dynasty, with its ergonomically focused wooden frame and weaved seat.
It’s easy to see why the Wishbone is a staple. This chair’s clean lines make it right at home in a contemporary space, while the wood adds warmth and a boost of character to any design aesthetic. It possesses a timeless quality that makes it both a safe and trendy option, no matter your style.
The Egg Chair
The Egg Chair, Arne Jacobsen (image credit: https://www.fritzhansen.com/en/Categories/Products/Furniture/Lounge/Egg)
Designed by architect Arne Jacobsen, the Egg chair is another highly recognizable piece and a true icon of Scandinavian design. This aptly named chair is as stylish and sleek as they come, with its unique, rounded shape and endless colour potential.
Jacobsen was particularly inspired by the functionalism of Bauhaus and Le Corbusier, which is why you’ve likely seen this chair housed in libraries, schools, hotels and other “functional” spaces. The shape of the chair almost feels like it was designed by a sculptor, which is fitting as Jacobsen aspired to be an artist before pursuing architecture.
We love the innovative, comfort-focused shape of this design, and how it is both a timeless classic and a sleek, contemporary piece for a new age.
Shell Chair, Hans Wegner (image credit: https://www.carlhansen.com/en/collection/lounge-chairs/ch07/shell-chair-oak-oil-white/variant/1499)
Another world-famous design from Hans Wegner, the CH07 Shell chair was created in 1963, but was considered “ahead of its time”, and only received its current fame after several decades. Today, it is considered one of Wegner’s most iconic and groundbreaking pieces.
When Carl Hansen & Søn reintroduced the design in 1998, it became a beloved favourite almost immediately, thanks in part to appeal from a newer generation. The chair’s “floating” lightness is achieved through its wing-like seat and curved backrest held in place by a frame with three arched legs.
It’s hard to pick just one thing we like about this design, but we particularly love its unique cradle seat and backrest, created from upholstered form-pressed veneer.
Pelican Chair, Finn Juhl Collection (image credit: https://finnjuhl.com/collection/pelican-chair)
Last but not least is the Pelican chair, designed by Finn Juhl in 1940 and reintroduced in 2001. The highlight of this design is its truly unique, enveloping shape that almost feels like it’s hugging you.
As with the other designs on this list, the Pelican chair was considered way ahead of its time when it was launched, and today you’ll likely find it in modern spaces. Like the Shell chair, it features a “dip” style that offers ultimate comfort, and sturdy legs made with walnut or oak.
We love how versatile and contemporary this design is, with its playful, wraparound shape and artsy aesthetic.
Sibley Lounge Chair, Tok Tok
When designing our own Sibley Lounge Chair, we knew we wanted to incorporate a bit of everything we loved from the industry’s top Scandinavian designs: simplicity, comfort, style and an environmentally conscious approach. Inspired by the great designers we’ve featured here, our lounge chair is sculpted for the human body in an effort to create a sitting experience that is truly comfortable, relaxing and timeless.
The Sibley Lounge Chair is crafted using simple expressions and refined organic lines out of moulded plywood and will last in your home or professional space for generations. We pride ourselves on forward-thinking design that simplifies your life and brings joy and calm to your day.
As Juhl rightfully puts it, "A chair is not just a product of decorative art in a space, it is a form and space in itself.”