Bars, canteens, bistros and restaurants have long been the mainstays of bar stools and counter stools, although they are slowly finding their way into homes and offices as well. This is not surprising: they exude a relaxed elegance, and create aesthetic and functional variety.
TON’s ‘14 barstool’ for example, is a tall version of the quintessential, 19th century, bentwood café chair. Marcel Wanders’s ‘new antiques barstool’ for mooi is a relatively bulky, ornamental barstool with a padded seat, rendered in solid, bright colours.
The classic modernist bar stools range from the friendly, understated, 1935 ‘High Chair 64’’, designed for Artek by Alvar Aalto, made from bent, laminated birchwood; to Jean Prouvé’s Vitra-manufactured ‘Tabouret Haut’, a more austere, straightforward, wooden design, with a round seat, tapered, slanted legs and a circular, steel footrest. Eileen Gray’s 1928 ‘Bar Stool No. 2’ has a plush, oval, leather-upholstered seat, supported by an elegant, asymmetric steel base, effectively becoming a three dimensional abstract composition.
On the other hand, Riva 1920’s ‘Coppa’ bar stool is a robust, sensuously sculpted piece of scented cedar wood. Karim Rashid’s ‘Kant’ for Casamania is also an abstract sculpture, which connects the seat, the footrest and the foot of the barstool with a seemingly viscous stream of polypropylene.
Arter & Citton’s ‘Glenda barstool’ for Scab design is a stacking barstool, rather traditional in form, but made entirely from transparent, glossy plastic. Philippe Starck also uses a traditional, ornamental from for ‘Kong Barstool with arms’, which is then made entirely from cast, hand-polished aluminium. And although Foster + Partners’ ‘20-06™ Barstool’ is also made out of aluminium, it is a neutral, almost anonymous design that will match any interior or exterior space.
Finally, Pierre Paulin’s ‘Little tulip B’ is a swiveling bar stool with a comfortably upholstered, segmented seat, reminiscent of tulip petals, and an elegant, chromed leg. Shin and Tomoko Azumi’s ‘Lem’ for lapalma is a minimal, height-adjustable, swiveling bar stool, with a wide range of options for its seat, including leather, fabric, wood, and stainless steel.