There’s something indescribably cool about uniqueness. When we see something especially curious in design, it’s not uncommon to take a few extra moments to ponder its existence – or maybe just sit and appreciate things, basking in the beautiful oddness. But there’s an important distinction between appreciation and application, and not every uniquely designed piece of furniture is going to suit the well-planned aesthetics of our very own homes. What is your own uniqueness limit when it comes to design? And when is something just too weird to include in our next room design?
We hope you don’t mind us indulging in a little fun in this latest installment of the AFR blog as we study the internet’s top 10 most unusual furniture pieces, ranging from astonishing to alien – and from offbeat to oddity.
Bauhaus Style “One Arm”
from Dmitry Samygin
The very inclusion of avant-garde right in the name of this chair is extremely telling. Avant-Garde Armchair by Dmitry Samygin manages to give off both cool and puzzling vibes at the same time, which is made even more humorous by the fact that it looks like it’s part artistic one-armed chair and part Rubik's Cube. It was inspired by the work of Dutch furniture designer and architect, Gerrit Rietveld, as well as Bauhaus style which typically opts for abstract, geometric aesthetics. On his website, Russian Furniture and Product Designer Dmitry Samygin says, “My products exemplify humanistic design, comfort in everyday use and ergonomic function.”
Giant Red King Crab Sculptural Chair
from Design Toscano
Holy crab! If you’re a true enthusiast of the ocean, the beach, or perhaps the decapod crustaceans which inhabit both, you’re going to think this next piece is crabsolutely clawsome! And now that we’ve used up all our bad crab puns: it’s not difficult to imagine this chair being a favorite for funny family photo ops in the garden or by the pool. Equal parts functional chair and detailed sculpture, Giant Red King Crab Sculptural Chair by Design Toscano weighs in at a whopping 116 lbs. The piece is cast in fiberglass-reinforced resin and hand painted – then possibly seasoned with Old Bay and served with butter and lemon (is it lunch time yet? 🦀).
from Latitude Run
Latitude Run’s Kirchoff Armchair sure looks…is supportive the right word? Constructed with a black metal frame and cord web suspension, it’s not altogether clear what inspired this piece, but a spider’s web might be a fair guess. From appearances alone it may be tough to tell if this is a comfortable seating choice, but a soft cushion and a skilled chiropractor on speed dial might not be a terrible idea just in case. And while you’ll certainly never want to accidentally drop your TV’s remote into the center of this bad boy, you can technically spill all the red wine you want on it with no fear of permanent damage to the chair itself. The carpet underneath, however, is another story entirely.
THIS little piggy has an important job – and is equipped with a small serving tray to hold your wine glass, décor, or anything else with the greatest of ease (as long as it’s not bacon). The word little may be a bit of an understatement since this whimsical and aptly named Pig Table by Moooi and Swedish design group Front stands at over 30” in height and weighs in at just over 90 lbs. Either way, the extra help is always appreciated! That'll do, pig. That'll do.
Day Tripper Repurposed Car Settee
from Fairfield Chair
While some may want to merely sit on their furniture, others (who apparently have a natural need for speed) are more inclined to go for a ride. The Day Tripper Repurposed Car Settee by Fairfield Chair truly looks like an old, beat-up car, with genuine leather racing seats and working headlights. This statement piece screams classic, vintage flair and the only thing it’s missing is an AM/FM stereo so we can scan through our favorite tunes, now oldies. This may be the only chair you should consider taking for an oil change after every three months of TV watching.
Hot Dog Sofa
While a bread cushion isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you consider relaxing after a long day at the office, this bright and bold center of attention doesn’t care about that. Food fans and those with an astounding sense of humor alike will relish Hot Dog Sofa by Seletti. Sit your buns down on a soft, light potato roll made from polyester, cotton, viscose, acrylic, and linen material over a sturdy wood, polyurethane, and metal structure. Of course, the resin feet are gold plated – because why not? The creators also offer three vegetable cushions, but if you’re serving vegetables on hot dogs, I’m probably going to be leaving your BBQ quietly and in a hurry!
Ngumu Janka Warnti High Back Chair
from Trent Jansen & Johnny Nargoodah
The Ngumu Janka Warnti High Back Chair, a collaboration by Trent Jansen and Johnny Nargoodah, is certainly a unique piece. The prototype was originally inspired by and created from interesting discarded materials sourced from a local scrap yard. The piece now lives as part of the permanent collection in the National Gallery Victoria in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. To create the unique shape, the creators hammered and beat a mesh substrate material into the desired shape before coating with New Zealand saddle leather to soften things.
Say what you want, Quartz Armchair by D3CO looks like the kind of chair you would just like to dive into (especially compared to some of the other, more rigidly designed pieces on this list). Available in several assorted colors and in various fabric and soft leather upholsteries, this armchair embodies modern Italian design and features a unique geometric shape inspired by the works of Leonardo da Vinci. The frame is solid dried beechwood with handmade aluminum joints, and padding made from natural oil and officinal herb-based foam is used to form each one-of-a-kind “crystal” insert.
from Troy Smith Studio
Really – what in the Beetlejuice house is going on with this chair? Sit in Star Lounger by Troy Smith Studio only if you’re positive your house isn’t haunted because this guy looks like he could reach out and grab you at any time if you’re not careful. Named for its star-like shape, Star Lounger focuses on balancing real functionality and truly individual design. In fact, it’s accurately described as part sculpture, part art, part design, part furniture. The piece is upholstered with black stretch velvet and finished with brass caps for added elegance.
MAD Martian Dining Table
Polished Stainless Steel
from MAD Architects
Take me to your leader! The MAD Martian Dining Table designed by Mad Architects Principal Founder Ma Yansong is the largest of five sci-fi inspired pieces making up the MAD Martian collection. This innovative, other-worldly design interestingly parodies furniture as it could exist after humans colonize the planet Mars. With aluminum construction finished in a futuristic metallic skin, this dining table looks decidedly extra-terrestrial, but also somewhat naturally occurring at the same time.
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