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Industry & Trends

Seven of Top 25 Furniture Pieces of Last 100 Years Are of Wood

Furniture can be made of any number of materials but a new New York Times ranking shows products made of wood to be a dominant material.

Granted it’s a subjective ranking, but a new New York Times survey of the 25 “most defining” pieces of furniture of the past 100 years should make those in the business of making and selling wooden furniture pleased.

Of the 25 pieces, seven are made entirely or primarily of wood and they represent both some of the most iconic pieces of the home furnishings world but also a few more obscure selections that even aficionados might have difficulty identifying. Choices had to be produced, even in prototype form, and be “at least slightly” functional.

The Times gathered six experts to “make a list of the most influential chairs, sofas and tables, as well as some less obvious household objects, from the past century.” They were architects and interior designers Rafael de Cárdenas and Daniel Romualdez; the Museum of Modern Art senior curator of architecture and design, Paola Antonelli; the actress and avid furniture collector Julianne Moore; artist and sculptor Katie Stout; and its own T magazine design and interiors director, Tom Delavan.

Here’s what they selected from the world of wood:

  • The LC14 Tabouret Cabanon, a 1952 design from architect Le Corbusier that was part of a collection of modular pieces he designed for a cabin.
  • The Slab I Coffee Table, a 1950’s live-edge coffee table from George Nakashima.
  • The classic 1930s Parsons table, which is possibly attributed to French designer Jean-Michel Frank.
  • Kitchen cabinetry designed by German Margarete “Grete” Schütte-Lihotzky for a Frankfurt housing project.
  • The Vilbert Chair, created by Verner Panton in 1992, constructed of fiberboard and made famous by IKEA.
  • The Butaque Chair, probably from the 1930s and designed by Cuban-born Clara Porset, featuring woven seating.
  • Alvar Aalto’s three-legged Stool 60, one of the more recognizable pieces that was originally created in 1933.

While many of the non-wooden selections featured upholstered constructions, none is probably more distinctive than Chairry, the armchair made famous on TV’s “Pee-wee’s Playhouse.”

The full list of furniture can be found at T Magazine.

LC14 Tabouret Cabanon by Le Corbusier
Slab I Coffee Table by George Nakashima
Parsons Table by Jean-Michel Frank (license)
Kitchen cabinetry by Margarete “Grete” Schütte-Lihotzky
Vilbert Chair by Verner Panton
Butaque Chair by Clara Porset
Stool 60 by Alvar Aalto


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