Part 3 of 3: The design of an icon – Living with an Icon

Apr 4, 2016 | Anoushka's Blog, Interior design and decoration

Over the past few weeks my blog has focused on iconic furniture.  We’ve discussed what makes an icon an icon, and the design replicas that are making icons more accessible, rightly or wrongly.  And in the final part of my “Iconic” blog post series I wanted to look at, living with an icon, i.e. how we use iconic furniture.

I believe whilst trends will come and go, icons remain timeless and will never go out of fashion. However, they are more than just designs to put on a pedestal, they have both form and function and need to be considered carefully when used in a design.  As with any piece of furniture, out of context it won’t work in a space, so we must consider the overall design taking into account: overall style, colour; texture; form; size; material; and of course practicality and budget.

Let’s have a look at a few common design styles and the iconic pieces I feel would really compliment them.

Scandinavian – Think simplicity, practicality and a “work of art” feel. Light colour palettes and the uses of natural materials, come through strongly.  Accent colour comes from plastics, enameled aluminium and steel, art, and natural coverings. Icons to consider include: Han Wegner round chair and wishbone chair; or Stool 60 by Alvar Aalto.

Stool 60 by Alvar Aalto

Stool 60 by Alvar Aalto

Beach style – Much like Scandi it is open and light but paired with grey, blues and greens.  Furnishings are often light and complimented with subtle patterns.  Iconic pieces can sit easily with plush sofas and beachy accessories to create a relaxed comfortable environment.   Scandinavian examples work well here, such as Han Wegner wishbone chair, however, wood painted white really completes the beach feel.

Han Wegner wishbone chair

Han Wegner wishbone chair

Contemporary – Flowing designs grounded in the now that don’t stick to one particular style, making it more forgiving to display iconic pieces.  Depending on the overall concept, try: the Eames lounge chair or the molded plastic Eiffel side chair; the Wassily chairs; the Eileen Gray Table; or the Nelson Platform Bench.

Eames lounge chair

Eames lounge chair

Mid-century modern – think retro-cool 1950s, 60s and early 70s, generally unfussy with some elements of minimalism opposed to a kitsch collectors feel.  Colours, fabrics and prints can be bold, but classy, and there is an emphasis on simple, natural or organic shapes.  The egg chair, Arco floor lamp and Noguchi coffee table work well.

Noguchi coffee table

Noguchi coffee table

Industrial – drawing inspiration from a warehouse or urban loft, with a rawness and pride for fixtures, fittings, fastenings and bolts.  A minimal and on display feel with exposed brick, ductwork and beams (steel or wood); works well with the Tolix bar stool (metal base and a wood top), Eames molded plywood chair or Knoll Bertoia diamond chairs.

Knoll Bertoia diamond chairs

Knoll Bertoia diamond chairs

Hopefully you’ve enjoyed these blog posts and whilst I have provided more depth than usual, this is a big topic.  So if you’d like to find out more about SmartSpace Interiors, iconic pieces and how we can help you with interior design, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Thanks for reading and hopefully you’ve recognised one or more of the iconic pieces and say to yourself, “Oh! That’s what it’s called! I always wanted one”.

References, pictures courtesy of:

  • scandinavia-design.fr “Arket Stool 60”
  • A pinch of colour, “Flower Fix!” apunchofcolordesign.com. 28 November 2011
  • com, “Bright Eames Lounge Chair method London Modern Living Room Decorating ideas with black leather chair desk eames desk chair Eames Lounge Chair Fireplace gray fireplace surround”. yacineaziz.com. 15 April 2015
  • marq-gzgz.blogspot.com, “MARQ / classical / Noguchi coffee table,” marq-gzgz.blogspot.com. 3 April 2014
  • com, “Two-storey loft in Lorensberg”.

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