Although not a chaise longue, a lounge chair with a matching footstool can also support a whole reclining body. In addition, the footstool can be used independently, and serve as a small seat for another person elsewhere, with the lounge chair retaining its relaxing function.
A wide variety of types exists today, from modernist and minimal to traditional and opulent, and every imaginable combination in between. The first category was spearheaded by Jorge Ferrari-Hardoy in 1938 with his minimal, yet ingenious, ‘Butterfly’ chair with a matching footstool. The recent design ‘LAWRENCE 390|391 lounge chair with footstool’ by Rodolfo Dordoni for Roda for can be seen as a refinement of this early design.
This approach finds its polar opposite in the lounge chairs of the British manufacturer Fleming & Howland, whose ‘Graham’ and ‘Stamford’ designs rely on expert craftsmanship to produce an authentic 19th-century appearance. Naturally, there are more pared-down, traditional variations, such as Andrea Parisio’s 2002 ‘Gabin Armchair Ottoman’ for Meridiani, or Kaare Klimt’s 1941 ‘Wingchair 6212’ for Rud. Rasmussen.
However, the best-known designs often eschew such easy categorisation. The 1948 ‘Saarinen Womb Chair & Ottoman’ designed by the Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen and produced by Knoll International, combine modern materials and minimal construction with a grand enveloping gesture of a thin upholstered shell.
Similarly, one of the most successful furniture design of all times, the ‘Lounge Chair’ designed by Charles and Ray Eames in 1956 and manufactured by Vitra, fits luxurious upholstery into a shell of rosewood veneer and supports it on an aluminium base. The 1958 Fritz Hansen-produced ‘Egg™ | 3316+3127’, another classic designed by the Danish architect Arne Jacobsen, uses the same sculptural gesture as a starting point for both the footstool and the chair.
Contemporary designers often produce new hybrids of established types, seen in the grounded sculptural forms of Naoto Fukasawa’s ‘Grande Papilio’ for B&B Italia, the luxurious but strictly modern forms of Antonio Citterio’s ‘A.B.C.’ for Flexform, or the traditional outlines and rounded form of Kenneth Cobonpue’s ‘Balou’s Easy Armchair with Ottoman’, whose light and transparent body is woven from steel, rattan and nylon, with upholstered cushions providing necessary comfort.