The modern furniture designs that have everlasting appeal
Some pieces of furniture perfectly capture the style of the period in which they were designed — but quickly lose their charm, looking tired or out of place after a few years. Others are created with such clean lines, such simple structures, that they never date. It is the latter that we feature here, by well-known architects including Antonio Citterio, Gio Ponti and Armani, as well as rising stars such as the London-based designer Michael Anastassiades. Many of the pieces, like the D.151.4 armchair, were conceived decades ago and are still in production today. But there are also contemporary creations that are destined to be future classics. Here, Nick Vinson selects some of his favourite designs – from fabrics to lamps, sofas to side-tables — whose beauty will never fade.
by Rodolfo Dordoni for Minotti
Geometric shapes in a soft, supple leather form the seat and back of this design by the Milan-based architect Rodolfo Dordoni. Choose between polished or coffee-hued aluminium feet. Shown here in fern-coloured leather.
Byram wall fabric
by Raf Simons for Kvadrat
Woven from pure kid mohair, Byram is a deep-piled velvet fabric that is extremely soft to the touch. The palette by the Belgian fashion designer Raf Simons includes primrose yellow, which gives a room a light, spring look.
£386 a metre, kvadrat.dk
Club 44 table
by Angelo Mangiarotti for Agapecasa
Designed in Milan in 1957 for the Club 44 cultural centre in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, this table is now being produced as a series. The top, made from 30mm birch plywood with exposed edges, is finished with natural Forbo linoleum and sits on monumental conical legs of cast cement.
From £5,895, agapecasa.it
This carpet is woven from a blend of three natural fibres — cotton, Himalayan allo and bamboo — which work especially well in the powdery Cipria shade shown here. It comes in three shapes (oval, square and rectangle), three colours and several sizes.
From £14,786, poliform.it
by Raphael Navot for Loro Piana
The curvy Palm armchair by the Jerusalem-born, Paris-based designer Raphael Navot has a wraparound back to hold the cantilevered seat in place. It is upholstered in a deep-piled Loro Piana mohair velvet.
Altai Unito fabric
by Loro Piana
Woven from long-lasting wool and soft cashmere, these fabrics come in a melange of delicate pinks and can be used for everything from walls to curtains and upholstery.
£433 a metre, loropiana.com
by Michael Anastassiades for Cassina
The Ordinal table, with its diagonally positioned legs, was created in 2018 by the Cypriot-born, London-based designer Michael Anastassiades. This version has anodised aluminium legs and a shiny lacquered top finished in Amaranth red.
Chiara table lamp
by Mario Bellini for Flos
Originally designed in 1969 by the Milanese architect Mario Bellini, this lamp was re-editioned in 2020 by the lighting specialist Flos. It is made of a sheet of folded metal that is held in place with hooks and rivets and finished with a coloured seal.
Lloyd Low chair
by Glenn Sestig for Giobagnara
This boxy chair has a very pleasing junction between the base and the seat. It was created by the Ghent-based architect Glenn Sestig for Giobagnara, in Genova. Crafted from dark-stained wood, it is upholstered in a Dedar viscose and linen fabric, shown here in a Bordeaux colour.
€2,900 plus tax, giobagnara.com
by Vico Magistretti for De Padova
Deep and comfortable with elegant, turned wooden feet, this sofa was designed by Vico Magistretti in 1988 for the Milanese tastemaker and furniture company founder Maddalena de Padova. Thirty-five years later it is still considered by the Italians to be a fine iteration of classic English style.
The three-fork joints at all eight corners of the Play coffee tables in Canaletto walnut lend character to these discreet and useful pieces. The glass tops are smoked and tempered, with the underside painted black.
£1,270, £1,400 and £1,525, armani.com
by Antonio Citterio for B&B Italia
Designed by the Milanese architect Antonio Citterio in 1997, the Charles sofa, with its minimal, inverted L-shaped, die-cast aluminium feet, doesn’t date. Available as a two or three-seater (as shown), as well as a chaise longue and a corner sofa.
by Gio Ponti for Molteni
This model by the Milan-based architect and designer Gio Ponti was originally made for use on cruise ships between 1949 and 1951. The backrest and front legs slot together with the seat and back legs to create a compact, upright yet comfortable side chair that’s full of personality.
by Raphael Navot for Roche Bobois
Raphael Navot’s Nativ collection is made up of five chairs, each with the same base but a different back. Choose just the one or, if you feel adventurous, mix them up around a table as a family of softly curved, fully upholstered dining chairs. Shown here with stained oak legs and upholstered in a gold Alchimie fabric.
by Jean-Marie Massaud for Poliform
This console by the Paris-based architect and designer Jean-Marie Massaud comes in golden walnut or black-stained elm, as shown here. An elegant, simple piece, it has U-shaped legs and is finished with a crossbar just below the top to provide strength.
Smooth and densely woven, this silk satin, available in 26 shades including copper, is made in Italy of three quarters silk and a quarter cotton. With its close structure (200 threads per cm), it’s a luxurious option for curtains and walls.
£288 a metre, dedar.com