Oscillating between design classics like Gaetano Pesce’s Feltri chair and the Bel Air armchair by Peter Shire, to more recent creations by contemporary artists and designers, including Varier’s Ekstrem tubular seat and Seungjin Yang’s epoxy balloon creations, Instagram account @gamesofthronez is an ode to the modern throne. Archiving the most imaginative chairs of the 20th and 21st centuries, the objects documented tread the fine line between art and design, operating as functional sculpture. A joy to peruse and a brilliant source of inspiration, the page is well worth exploring.
Among the highlights is the Terrazza sofa by Ubald Klug for de Sede. Hailing from St. Gallen, Switzerland, Klug’s activities in interior design include work on exhibitions, retail spaces and restaurants. The Terrazza sofa, first produced in the 1970s, and documented by @gamesofthronez in a brown leather, features individual elements reminiscent of a terrace-like, stepped slope with different widths and depths. Like many luxury leather goods brands, furniture-manufacturing company de Sede started out as a saddle-making atelier. Based in Klingnau, located in northern Switzerland near the German border, the company traces its furniture production back to 1965, when the original family-run business incorporated and began to collaborate with international designers.
Elsewhere, discover the work of Thomas Barger, which carefully finds a lucid balance between sculpture and object. In his series, Heaven Bound, 2020, he develops his work with up cycled furniture and paper pulp. Using the rungs on the back of a shaker chair he sculpts upwards using exposed plywood, giving a glimpse into the construction of these masterfully shaped works. The designer is originally from a rural cattle farm in Illinois, USA, and now works and lives in Brooklyn, NY. Amidst this new chosen environment, Barger’s work has been a process of emotional, intellectual, and spiritual exploration grounded in craft, narrative, and humour. Often modernism, queerness, and city life versus a farming childhood inform his artistic decisions.
Another favourite, Verner Panton’s Living Tower, designed in 1969 and manufactured by Vitra, can be used on four different levels. Over two metres high, the upholstered seating tower has a stable frame made of birch plywood. The cleverly arranged interior niches can be used in sitting and reclined positions, encouraging communication and relaxation. Perhaps the most literal of thrones featured on the Instagram account comes from Marco Zanini for Memphis; the 1986 Roma Chair is a collaboration with Ettore Sottsas, utilising moulded fiberglass, a material not typically associated with furniture, to create an impressive seat. Long out of production, it is extremely unusual to find one of these chairs in good condition, especially as many were used outdoors.
Keep scrolling to find the striking leopard skin upholstered Chaise Longue Basculante, recently exhibited at the Musée des Art Décoratifs in Paris as part of the show Modern Maharajah: A Patron of the 1930s. A collaboration between Le Corbusier, Charlotte Perriand and Pierre Jeanneret, it was manufactured by Thonet in 1931. The iconic seat was born in 1927 from a series of drawings by Corbusier representing 9 ways to sit. During the same period, and in the same spirit, Perriand, who had just graduated from the Ecole de l’Union Centrale des Arts Décoratifs, was working on the totally new concept of metallic furniture design, building a reputation for her innovative work. She decided to meet Corbusier to show him her designs, who ultimately hired her in order to develop and materialise his seating ideas, along with the help of his cousin Jeanneret.
Amongst the more recently conceived pieces appearing on @gamesofthronez is the work of Seungjin Yang, who grew up surrounded by the mountains of eastern Korea and studied Metal Art & Design at Hongik University. Yang’s Blowing Series started from his intention to transform the undefined form of balloons into a type of sculpture. His work developed from studying the simple behaviour of blowing balloons and their form and volume as a consequence, then it became a process of producing balanced structures and rigid textures out of an unstable material. A series of trials resulted in the latest manifestations that are solid pieces of furniture made with eight layers of epoxy.
Feature image: Roma Chair by Marco Zanini for Memphis, 1986 / Images via @gamesofthronez