Innovations in materials and manufacturing often spur updates to classic designs. In some cases, the result is a new product that replicates the original. And in others, it renders something entirely new. We’ve gathered a collection of classic furniture pieces whose recent revisions trend toward subtle design tweaks and material improvements.
Eames Molded Fiberglass Chair, Herman Miller
The glass-fiber manufacturing process is notorious for its negative contributions to indoor environmental air quality. First produced in glass fiber by Herman Miller, the 1950 Eames Molded Fiberglass Chair was re-designed in plastic a few decades later. Now the company is re-releasing the chair in the original material, but with a new, no-VOC manufacturing process derived from the automobile industry in which glass-fiber strands are blown onto a wireframe formed in the shape of the chair’s shell. Fibers that don’t land on the screen are immediately vacuumed out of the air. Heat and pressure are applied to the form, which melts the strands onto the screen. Nine archival colors are offered. Available later this spring.
Credit: Herman Miller
Sling Chair by Harvey Probber, M2L
Modernist designer Harvey Probber helped to bring sectional seating into American homes and workplaces during the second half of the 20th century. Furniture brand M2L is now re-issuing a selection of his work, including the 1948 Sling Chair (shown). Selected for MoMA’s Good Design exhibition in 1951, the chair features a bent-wood frame with a sling back. The update features a laminated wood frame and leather upholstery. The cozy chair measures 39” deep, 27” wide, and 28” tall.
Shell Chair, Carl Hansen & Søn
In honor of what would have been Hans J. Wegner’s 100th birthday, British designer Paul Smith is giving the late Danish furniture maker’s iconic work a visual twist. Smith hand-picked a selection of Wegner’s pieces to upholster in a series of striped textiles that he recently designed for Maharam. Wegner’s Shell Chair (shown), Wishbone Chair, and Wing Chair are among the pieces that will be available at select Paul Smith shops worldwide.
Credit: Carl Hansen & Son
Grand Prix, Fritz Hansen
First introduced in 1957 as the Model 3130, the Grand Prix earned its name after winning the eponymous award at that year’s Triennale exhibition in Milan. Designed by Danish designer Arne Jacobson, its original laminated wood veneer shell was complemented by a wood base, which was later swapped for chrome steel. Now, the chair’s maker Fritz Hansen is reviving the Grand Prix’s original wood base. The chair and base are offered in ash in nine colors as well as oak and walnut.
Sibast No. 8, Sibast Furniture
Danish craft’s strong influence on Modern design can be credited to a number of individuals and manufacturers in Denmark. Among them, Helge Sibast crafted classics such as the solid-wood 1953 No. 8 chair (shown) until his death in 1984. Now, his family is reviving the business—and the chair. With inverted Y-shaped legs, a cantilevered seat, and a curved rail, the midcentury modern piece will be offered in oak with black, soap, and oiled finishes.
Credit: Sibast Furniture
Karuselli by Yrjö Kukkapuro, Artek
Finnish designer Yrjö Kukkapuro spent four years optimizing the form of his glass-fiber Karuselli lounge chair to fit the variable proportions of the human body before it launched at the 1965 Cologne Furniture Fair in Germany. The result combined ergonomics, design, and a new material in glass fiber. Artek is reviving the piece with a glass-fiber shell and leather upholstery; a steel bracket connects the seat to its swivel base. An ottoman is also available.
Rudder Table, Herman Miller
The lack of a consistent set of drawings was just one of the challenges facing Herman Miller when the furniture maker decided to reissue the Rudder Coffee Table by designer and sculptor Isamu Noguchi. Part of the 1949 Rudder Series of tables and stools, the low table displays Noguchi’s signature graceful, rounded wood-veneer surfaces and distinctive material combinations. Two chrome, hairpin legs contrast a third, rudder-like wood one. All support an asymmetric curved top to give the table its name and signature material pairing. Offered in ash (shown) and walnut.
Credit: Herman Miller