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Trend Watch: Chubby Furniture

Posted by George Sims on

Childlike furniture

Designers don’t like to talk about trends.

They probably pay far more attention to them than they are willing to admit but trust us when we say you’re unlikely to find one who is open about letting what’s popular guide their work.

As a vintage furniture retailer, we’re in a different position.

Yes, we like the idea of designs and interiors being timeless but at the end of the day we’ve got to provide you with what you want.

So, with this in mind, we thought we’d talk a little about so-called chubby furniture.

What is Chubby Furniture?

If you don’t know what is meant by this term, don’t panic.

We’ve seen it described using a number of other phrases including 'childlike design', 'elephantine design' and more.

What it refers to, however, is voluptuous furniture with almost bulbous proportions. 

That’s not to say every design has to look swollen to fit the bill.

The best shapes are often balanced by thin, clean lines. This gives the item a more deliberate, edited feel as opposed to looking like something that was left out in the sun for too long. 

What Do You Need to Know About Chubby Furniture?

First thing worth mentioning is that we think it looks great. Second thing worth mentioning is that it’s not new.

You can find its roots in furniture from the 40’s (see Finn Juhl’s Pelican chair) and it became popular in the 70’s and 80’s.

Despite what contemporary designers might tell you, chubby furniture draws heavily on the so-called space age designs of the likes of Werner Panton.

It just fell out of fashion.

If you poke around on the internet for a while, you’ll see a handful of commentators talking about why it’s coming back around.

A recent edition of a glossy even went so far as to suggest that it’s a reaction to the tough political and socio-economic climate we’re facing.

Apparently, we want our furniture to give us a reassuring hug.

We'd go further and venture that playful, childlike design might be popular because there really is no reason to worry yourself with what history has considered ‘good taste’ when you’re hovering over the abyss.

But, truth to tell, it doesn’t matter. Explaining the chubby furniture revival doesn’t change the fact that this stuff looks great and we’ve been admirers for a while.

We’re just glad that the market is catching up with what some of the more adventurous designers have been doing over the last 18 months. 

Seven of the Best Vintage Chubby Furniture Designs 

Mole Chair Sergio Rodrigues

Mole Armchair by Sergio Rodrigues (1957)

Joe Chair

Joe Chair by De Pas, D-Urbino & Lomazzi (1970)

Camaleonda Sofa

Camaleonda Sofa by Mario Bellini (1971) 

Ekstrem Chair

Ekstrem Chair by Terje Ekstrom (1972) 

Togo Chair

Togo Chair by Marcel Ducaroy for Ligne Roset (1973)

B&B Chair

B&B Chair by Gaetano Pesce (1973) 

Il Colonato Table

Il Colonato Coffee Table by Mario Bellini  (1977)


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