As one of Cape Town’s leading interior designers, Liam Mooney, one of the creatives behind the look of Whatiftheworld Gallery, Superette, Clarke’s and La Mouette, deals with a mass of stylish furniture on a daily basis. But of all the goods he’s regularly engaging with or producing, its the category of chairs that’s he’s the most besotted with.
‘I love chairs because of all pieces of furniture they are the most closely linked to the human experience…chairs wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the people sitting in them,’ he says.
So great is his fondness for seating that he even uses two classic Ingram chairs by Charles Rennie Mackintosh as bedside tables (see the image above).
Below, Liam reveals seven of his favourite designer chairs (although he admits these are just some of many), most of which are iconic designs that have left a mark on history.
the paulistano armchair by paulo mendes da rocha
Brazilian architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha designed this classic piece in 1957 and it has become so revered since that it’s included in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. It’s made from one bent steel rod and covered in either leather or cotton, and is renowned as being both elegant and incredibly comfortable.
chandigarh office cane chair by pierre jeanneret
This masterpiece of a chair, made from solid teak and cane, formed part of Swiss architect Pierre Jeanneret’s Chandigarh collection and marries a contemporary spirit with traditional Indian craftsmanship.
harry’s chair by christian liaigre
This timeless upholstered chair, with its wooden frame and curved backrest, reflects its great French creator’s ability to combine modesty with luxury and is testament to his dislike of superfluous decorative elements.
the thinking man’s chair by jasper morrison
British product and furniture designer Jasper Morrison conceptualised this intriguing chair – referred to as ‘an icon of contemporary design’ – back in 1986. The arty frame is made from lacquered metal, and thanks to its relaxed shape and the flat round glass trays fitted to the end of the armrests, it’s the ideal patio chair in which to sit and contemplate life (hence the name).
the hill house chair by charles rennie mackintosh
Boasting a commanding presence, this unusual ladder-back chair reflects its Scottish Art Nouveau designer’s attention to spatial details and appreciation of restrained Japanese aesthetics. The horizontal bars and grid lend it a strong geometric feel and the very high back plays with proportions in an interesting way. It’s artsy, linear quality make it a coveted piece today, even though it was first produced over 100 years ago.
the standard chair by jean prouvé
True to French metal worker and designer Jean Prouvé’s style, the Standard Chair is both utilitarian and striking in its design, featuring a very simple, functional construction with over-sized back legs for interest. The classic chair also reflects Prouvé’s fascination with materials, marrying a powder-coated steel frame with wood seating.
the polyprop chair by robin day
You’ll recognise this simple, stackable pieces by renowned British furniture designer Robin Day from school classrooms, church halls, canteens and hospitals – it is one of the best-selling chairs in the world. Because we’ve seen it everywhere, it’s become more difficult to see the beauty in it, but the mere fact that more than 50 years after it was first created, it’s still ubiquitous and in production is testimony to the perfection of its design.
Read about Liam Mooney’s small apartment in Cape Town’s De Waterkant in our March 2016 issue, which is on shelves from 22 February.