October 13, 2020

Everyone loves IKEA, the go-to for affordable and functional furniture. But where would you turn to if you wanted to take it up a notch? (i.e. procure classy and tasteful pieces that can spark a conversation?) Sometimes the past has answers to our questions. From Marcel Breuer’s Wassily chair to Eero Saarinen’s tulip table, designers in the 20th century explored various art forms to create classics that went onto inspire countless copies. Even H&M couldn’t resist and produced their version of Hans Wegner’s CH25 series of chairs. Here are five furniture classics that can inject sophistication into your home. 

Josef Albers Nesting Tables

One of artistic director Josef Albers’ classic designs includes the nesting tables designed in 1926. Made with solid oak and lacquered glass tops in green, yellow, orange and blue shades, the Josef Albers Nesting Tables exemplify modern design influences from the Bauhaus. Apart from embodying the exploration of colours through geometrical forms, these compact tables are versatile, allowing you to work “independently and interdependently.” If you value space-saving furniture, they come in descending order of table size so they will never be obtrusive. 

Nils Strinning String Shelving 

Swedish architect-cum-designer Nils Strinning may not have known it then, but his design of the String Shelving in the 1940s was the bedrock of Scandinavian design. Combining aesthetics and functionality, this shelving system comprises repositionable shelves and panels that are minimalist, lightweight and economical. As a highly recognisable design worldwide, it has won not only an impressive number of international accolades but also our hearts.

Le Corbusier Borne Béton Lamp

In 1952, architectural master Le Corbusier designed the borne béton to illuminate common areas of his Unité d’Habitation project. Not only did it reflect his functional design philosophy that catered to the masses, it revealed his fascination with concrete forms that pioneered the brutalist movement. This reissued lamp from Italian lighting design firm Nemo retains the original integrity, but with an LED light source. 

Poul Henningsen PH5 Pendant

Ask any Dane, and they would probably have a PH5 pendant. Why? Because this immensely popular fixture eliminates harsh lighting from incandescent light bulbs and is 100 per cent glare-free. Think five stylishly-curved aluminium shades bathing your room in a warm natural glow. With this effortlessly elegant design, say goodbye to harsh lighting. 

Hans Wegner Wishbone Chair

Have you ever heard of the ‘Master of the Chair’? This prestigious title was awarded to Hans Wegner for his creation of the wishbone chair in 1949. The most striking feature is its hand-woven paper cord seat and characteristic Y-shaped back, which provides additional stability and comfort. Subtle and understated, this is one chair you will never regret buying. 

Image credits: MoMA, Louis Poulsen, Carl Hansen & Søn