The lounge chair, modern design icon

A mythical armchair, the lounge chair is a worldwide icon, inscribed in history and more particularly in the history of 20th century design. Much more than a simple resting chair, this seat has become for many brands and designers the archetype of innovation, comfort and modernity. A review of lounge chairs with unequalled qualities and absolute elegance. An essential classic to have in your home.

4 minutes
© Vitra | Lounge Chair, Charles & Ray Eames

In search for the most comfortable chair available

Born in the Netherlands and active for more than eight decades, the furniture company Leolux works with international designers to produce its armchairs with footrests. Today, leather and wood predominate in their contemporary designs.

In many countries around the world, the lounge chair is very different from the classic armchair models. This often high-end product is instantly recognisable. Its design reveals three curved plywood pieces: a headrest, a backrest and a low seat that adapts to the contours of the human body. Upholstered leather cushions accentuate the much sought-after comfort. The upholstery of the latter varies according to the furniture manufacturer, sometimes in feathers or even in foam.

VILLAS Decoration lounge chair

Leolux | Cream, Studio Truly Truly

The authentic lounge chair is accompanied by a footrest (or ottoman): a foot that often has four legs. This essential element is designed in different colours and in leather with matching woods.

An invitation to relaxation and well-being throughout the home, that is the promise of these recliners. Recently, the Belgian brands XVL, Marie’s Corner and Tribù, for the outdoor market, have also developed their ranges around these moments of relaxation provided by lounge chairs. These cocoon armchairs with their enveloping shapes give you only one desire: to curl up in them by a stove, a fireplace, or even near an indoor swimming pool 


The lounge chair: a cult chair model then and now

“What if we modernised the traditional English club chair?” (sic) This is how the history of the lounge chair began; a desire to create a new version of the gentlemen’s club chair. During the 20th century, this evolution of the chair was brought about by the famous and visionary American designers and architects Charles and Ray Eames. They wanted to design a chair with a warm appearance and receptive appeal, inspired by the shape of the baseball glove. A successful challenge for the duo. After several years of reflection and design, their ingenious Lounge chair, published from 1956 by Herman Miller in the United States and then by Vitra from Switzerland in 1984, was a resounding success. A year after its release, it was awarded the Grand Prix at the Milan Triennial. In 1960, a copy found its way into the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York (MoMA). Today, it is present in the most renowned museums such as the Vitra Museum in Weil Am Rhein, Germany, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Centre Pompidou in Paris. This shows the prestige of this emblematic piece.

VILLAS Decoration lounge chair

Vitra | Slow Chair, Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec

The Eames lounge chair is a worldwide success. In consultation with the designers’ heirs, Vitra has expanded its range over the past 60 years with new material and leg combinations. The dimensions have also been adapted to the significant changes in human morphology since the 1950s. Its manufacture still requires the same steps (47 in total), many of which are done by hand. This high level of design combined with high quality materials guarantees its longevity and makes it a design icon that is passed on from generation to generation and remains at the forefront of research in the second-hand, vintage market.

VILLAS Decoration lounge chair

Vitra | Slow Chair, Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec

In 2006, Vitra teamed up with the famous French design brothers Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec to develop the Slow Chair and its ottoman. A collection of elegant, lightweight chairs with translucent knitted fabric covers, different from the lounge chair, but just as comfortable. In 2011, the Italian architect Antonio Citterio unveiled the Repos & Grand Repos lounge chairs. Their reclining backs offer a new quality of comfort and movement in space.


Contemporary and elegant lounge chairs to discover in Belgium and elsewhere

In Italy, the major publishing house B&B Italia has followed Vitra’s approach. It offers pieces of exceptional quality expressing all the elegance of the Italian style, such as the Almora model designed in 2014 by Londoners Nipa Doshi and Jonathan Levien: a seat with a graphic, swivelling and enveloping look, accompanied by an upholstered footrest.

There’s no better feeling than lounging in an armchair that invites cocooning. For its part, Mishima Studio, a Japan-based furniture publisher inspired by Western design and offering its products exclusively online, is seriously innovating. In November 2021, this studio unveiled its flagship product: a lounge chair and its footrest supported by a single carbon fibre structure. A unique and entirely ingenious design, giving the body a feeling of weightlessness. Via their online shop, their 3D design tool allows you to visualise this chair taking place in your home. Their customers in the United States, and even in Italy, are already won over by their expertise.

VILLAS Decoration lounge chair

Jori | Daydreamer, Joachim Nees

In Belgium, for the ultimate comfort experience, it is often a good idea to visit the specialists in contemporary leather seating, such as Zetelfabriek Cammers, a renowned family business based in Mechelen.

Timeless style, innovative comfort, Belgian know-how and guaranteed quality: these are the key words of the unmissable Jori brand. A true source of relaxation and a blessing for the body, the lounge and relax chairs provide moments of pure serenity. In collaboration with its team of six international designers, Jori has launched 14 models in leather, fabric and even lacquer.

  • Daydreamer, by German designer Joachim Nees: an armchair inspired by lounge chairs, generous and with a sculpted, subtly curved design;
  • Time-Out, by the architect Christophe Giraud: a lounge chair and its footrest with a timeless style;
  • and the unmissable Mensana, designed by Frenchman Jean-Pierre Audebert: a recliner with a clean, contemporary design that has made Jori a success.

On the brand’s website, a configurator also allows you to customise and visualise the different renderings of these seats according to your wishes.

Among the Belgian distributors, the Instore furniture shop in Brussels is also presenting a collection of relax chairs from major publishers, such as the superb Mart by the famous Antonio Citterio (a chair with a hollow shape) and the discreet Grande Papilio by the Japanese Naoto Fukasawa (a cosy, sinuous chair with a butterfly wing back), from B&B Italia, as well as Piero Lissoni’s “KN” collection for the American publishing house Knoll. The authentic Vitra lounge chair can also be found. In Knokke, RR Interieur also has a range of top quality furniture to help you find the recliner or lounge chair of your dreams, to give you the ultimate in luxury and comfort.