The art and design world owe a lot to the aesthetic sophistication and craftsmanship of the ancient Greeks besides the small fact they are also responsible, in part, for establishing the foundation blocks of Western culture. One may not be aware that many of the styles and shapes of furniture that fill our homes are derived from this ancient civilisation but to discuss them all here is definitely beyond the scope of this post!
Today, Interiors Monologue would like to focus on the Klismos Chair, born in ancient Greece in a time commonly referred to as Classical Antiquity (8th century BCE to 6th century AD) and the various design interpretations of it that exist today.
A concise history of the Klismos Chair can be found on Wikipedia but in summary:
- The chair can be found on painted pottery and bas-reliefs from mid 5th century BCE.
Klismos chair on an ancient Greek tombstone. Photography taken from Wikipedia
- In the early 18th century the Klismos style of chair is widely found in Paris made by Georges Jacob. It can be found in paintings by Jacques Louis David from this period as well.
- In London a century later Thomas Hope designed a set of Klismos chairs. He was a Classical Antiquity enthusiast.
- The simple and elegant form of the Klismos chair had a re-birth in the 1920s during the Art Deco period.
- In the 1960s the renowned furniture designer T. H Robsjohn Gibbings designed and instigated an accurate interpretation of the ancient original. (see chair no. 5 below) that is really coveted today by collector’s’ worldwide.
Interiors Monologue have found some really special chairs that hark back to or are a creation of the perceived original.
CHAIR 1. This is the Sara Bond Chair from the Private Collection of Paco Camus. The company aptly describes the chair as a “barefoot maiden dressed in the protocol of modernity”. The chair has exaggerated joints which we love but speaks that language of the Klismos in it’s woven seat and concave back.
CHAIR 2. This is The Winston chair from Lamberty Bespoke. We love the red leather and American walnut finish on this particular chair but if this didn’t suit your scheme they offer a range of different materials and finishes including English walnut and ebony and other colour leathers. Despite the upholstery it is clear that the Klismos concave back and angled back legs has been a source of inspiration albeit exaggerated in form.
CHAIR 3. This stunning chair is by the designer Paul Mathieu who works using polished bronze. The Aira Chair as it is called is part of the Ralph Pucci International collection. This is extremely beautiful and extremely pricey but sometimes needs must and a splurge on this would be an investment on a timeless piece for you and future generations.
CHAIR 4. We have mentioned Stuart Scott Associates in a previous post. The Isabella Dining chair (pictured) is no exception to his wonderful new collection. The interpretation of the Klismos chair is clear.
CHAIR 5. The last but by no means the least of our favourites is designed by T.H Robsjohn Gibbings and forms part of the history of the Klismos chair and resembles the original most closely. In 1960′s, he collaborated with the Greek cabinetmakers Susan and Elftherios Saridis to recreate this chair with great accuracy at a time when he was encouraging formality in interior design to give up its seat (excuse the pun) in place of individual expression in interior design/decoration. The light and elegant frame with splayed sabre legs, central splat supporting a concave backrest with a seat of leather strapwork is now iconic. 1st Dibs can direct you to a number of dealers who specialise in Robsjohn Gibbings furniture.
It is not difficult to find reproductions of the Klismos Chair, what is important is to recognise the exceptional work of others who have like many before, taken inspiration from the past to create something exciting and great.