Waiting room chairs are an extremely diverse product group, with modernist classics, bold, contemporary experiments, traditional forms and everything in between available to the user. The right choice is therefore a matter of taste, representation, and the particular situation.
After all, modernist classics, such as Marcel Breuer’s cool, iconic, tubular steel ‘Wassily Lounge Chair’ from 1925, now manufactured by Knoll International; or Mart Stam’s archetypal, 1927 ‘S 33’ cantilever chair by Thonet, are perhaps more suited to furnishing a serious, executive waiting room.
Slightly more relaxed, but no less iconic, Charles and Ray Eames’s 1950 ‘Eames Plastic Armchair’, produced today by Vitra, is an organically shaped, plastic shell is mounted on a variety of interchangeable bases; or Harry Bertoia’s ‘Bertoia Side chair’, an elegant, upholstered steel rod construction.
More contemporary waiting room chairs include Ross Lovegrove’s sculptural ‘Monolith chair’ for Moroso, in which the seat seems to be carved out of a glossy, plastic block; Oskar Zieta’s ‘Chippensteel’, made by inflating a thin, steel skin into a shape of a waiting room chair; and Philippe Starck’s ‘Kong Armchair’ for emeco, which is cast from aluminium, but formally refers to traditional furniture design.
For larger scale waiting rooms, or those with a preference for understatement, there is still a large number of possible designs. At the more traditional end of spectrum, we have Paola Navone’s ‘Gray 21’, manufactured by Gervasone, a waiting room chair from solid wood with a stick back, resembling a pared-down Windsor; or Marcel Wanders’s delicate, turned wood ‘New Antiques | NA/1’ waiting room chair for Cappellini.
On the other hand, Jasper Morrison’s colourful ‘Tate Color Chair’ for Cappellini is a wholly contemporary, sober, stackable design with a moulded plywood seat. Slightly more angular, Kengo Kuma’s ‘NC’ waiting room chair is upholstered for extra comfort; while KiBiSi’s ‘Shanghay Chair’ for Hay uses 4 bent plywood ribbons to construct a minimal, light, and aesthetically pleasing seat.