Collector’s Delight: 5 Iconic Industrial Designs

For hundreds of years, products like furniture were created by skilled craftsman who designed and built products by hand.  Each piece was unique, but the process of manufacturing that piece was long and expensive.  In the early 1900s, after the Industrial Revolution, the pendulum began to swing toward mass-produced pieces created through the process of industrial design. Industrial design seeks to optimize function, value and appearance of a product in order to create a win-win situation for both manufacturer and buyer.  The product is conceptualized and designed using drawings and models. The finalized designs are then mass-produced, making the final product less expensive and less time-consuming  hand-crafted items.

Along the way, talented designers created pieces that have become iconic in the world of design.  These are a few of our favorite iconic industrial designs.

Eames Lounge Chair


In 1956, Charles and Ray Eames released the Eames Lounge and Ottoman, perhaps the most easily recognizable pieces of industrial design.  The Eames brothers designed the chair to have the “warm, receptive look of a well-used first baseman’s mitt.”   This iconic chair is so well-respected that it is in the permanent collection of New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

Tulip Chair


Designed by Eero Saarinen in 1955, the Tulip Chair is another iconic example of industrial design.  The chair was designed to match the complementary Tulip Table, featuring the same smooth, curving lines.  Both the design and the materials used to create the Tulip Chair give it its futuristic reputation.

Louis Ghost Chair


Philippe Starck released the Louis Ghost Chair in 2002, but it has become a classic piece in the short years it has been on the market  The chair combines the stately elegance of classic baroque style with the functionality needed for modern life.  The chairs are stackable, sturdy, and take up little to no visual space in a room.

Egg Chair


The Egg Chair was designed for a Danish hotel in the late 1950s.  Arne Jacobsen is believed to have been influenced by the Saarinen’s Womb Chair when creating the chair’s rounded design.  The way the chair wraps around its occupant provides both comfort and privacy, perfect for a hotel lobby!

Barcelona Chair


Many industrial designs are to be used by the common man, but the Barcelona Chair is for Spanish Royalty. Mies van der Rohe designed the chair to provide comfortable seating for royalty as they oversaw the International Exposition of 1929.  The design took inspiration from folding chairs created for both Egyptian and Roman royalty.  While the Spanish monarchs never made use of Mies’ chairs, the design went on to become one of the most enduring symbols of industrial design.

So do you own any of these collectible industrial design pieces?  We’d love to hear more in the comments.

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Collector’s Delight: 5 Iconic Industrial Designs