The Little Things - Pod Life

By Janet Ramin on February 11th, 2011
Designer Monthly's Little Things column places a spotlight on those home accessories that are often overlooked, and we at NYIAD will show how they can be improved to make a world of a difference. Our pursuit is to enhance the decor through economical yet aesthetically superior measures.

Pod Life

The freezing temperatures and wind chill drives many of earth's creatures, including man, to burrow into something warm and sheltering. Since hibernating all winter is not an option for us, we look for alternatives to give us the same feeling of a cocoon. A favorite blanket is a start, but a comfy, enveloping chair is even better. Enter the pod chairs.

Pod chairs come in many shapes and include the Womb chair, the Egg chair and the Ball chair. The forerunner in cocoon like chairs is the Womb chair, designed by Aero Saarinen in 1948. The Womb chair is made of polyurethane foam over a molded fiberglass shell, a breakthrough in design and construction back in 1948. Ten years later Arne Jacobsen presented the Egg chair. Also made of foam and fiberglass, the Egg chair took the cocoon concept further with an even higher back for more privacy and lounging. In 1966, the most highly copied pod chair – the Ball chair - was introduced by Eero Aarnio. Its almost complete spherical shape insulates the sitter from outside noise and gives her the chance to relax. Aarnio later went on to design a see-through version of the Ball chair and christened it the Bubble chair. The Bubble chair is made of acrylic and designed to float in the air like a soap bubble and is hung via a chain and hook.

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Over fifty years later, designers still want to stamp their own version of the popular pod chair. French design house, Ligne Roset, created the Pumpkin collection – its lines resemble a scooped out pumpkin. The sofa and armchair have deep, thick cushions with high backs and arms and come in a variety of rich fun colors: yellow-orange, hot pink, and purple.

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B&B Italia put its own spin on the pod chair with the Piccolo Papilio. Naoto Fukasawa designed the Papilio with relaxation in mind. The Papilio merges the traditional American wing chair with the bubble-like seat of the contemporary sofas, creating a whole new pod chair.

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The Brazilian brother-duo, the Campanas, push the boundaries in chair design and construction. One of their creations, the Sushi chair, is made up of rolled felt sliced crosswise, exposing its many layers of different colored fabrics. The sushi rolls are then tied together to form a hollowed-out round chair – very colorful and warm to the touch. Another design from the Campanas is the Vermelha chair. The Vermelha is fashioned out of cotton rope and is draped like netting, forming a crescent-shaped chair. The effect is a summer hammock, ideal for napping away but with legs meant for indoor use.

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For those lucky enough to live in sunnier climes all year round, but still yearn to cozy up in a pod chair, we have the Voyage lounge chair for the outdoors. Kenneth Cobonpue from the Philippines designed this polyethylene chair/daybed. The polyethylene fibers are hand-woven and tied into an overhead canopy, providing shade from the sun. image attribute

Pod chairs are a great way to provide a little escape and relaxation without the travel and the cost. They are made of many materials from fiberglass to felt and come in various forms but they all have one thing in common – they provide comfort and enveloping arms for maximum relaxation.

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