We all know office chairs, stackable plastic chairs, bar stools and other chairs we see in day-to-day life. There are, however, many chairs that are only used in particular circumstances, were only used at a particular stage in history or are collected and used by galleries and museum, designed by high-end artists.

Courting bench (AKA tête-à-tête)

Also known as kissing benches or conversation benches, these benches were popular in Victorian times. They feature two parallel seats facing in opposite directions and separated by a common arm. They were thought to be ideal for kissing or intimate but hushed conversation.

Draughtsman’s chair

The draughtsman’s chair is designed with a high seat and a low back, and often a ring just above the base for use as a foot rest. Many draughtsman’s chairs come without wheels, given the stability necessary for a draughtsman to produce accurate and well-rendered drawings.

The Panton chair

Considered to be one of the masterpieces of Danish design, the Panton chair is a plastic, S-shaped chair, originally designed by Verner Panton in the 1960s. It was the world’s first moulded plastic chair. Inspired, strangely, by a neatly assembled stack of plastic buckets, the designer set out to create the first elegant, stackable chair from a single mould.

Massage chair

Electronic massage chairs are all well and good, but nothing beats a well-trained masseuse who knows how to get into every cramped muscle. With this massage chair, the head, neck, shoulders, back, arms, hands and legs are all supported at ideal angles, allowing ultimate muscular relaxation and giving a masseuse the best possible angles of approach.

The Egg chair

Designed in 1958 for Radisson Hotels, the Egg Chair was the brain-child of famous Danish designer, Arne Jacobsen. Typical of Jacobensen’s style, it used the latest in state-of-the-art materials, including polished steel and fabricated nylon covering. The curved style of the chair adds to its style and elegance. Only a limited number of these chairs was ever produced, due in part to the difficulty involved in manufacturing them. Today the chair might be recognized as the “diary room chair” from the first season of UK’s “Big Brother”. Surprisingly, it has also been taken up by McDonalds as part of a high-concept redesign of one of its London branches.

The Kneeling chair

This unique design aims to solve the problem of proper ergonomics in seating. Instead of providing the usual lumbar support, the kneeling chair supports the lower back by dividing the burden of the upper body’s weight between the knees and the buttocks. The chair is also sometimes referred to as the Balans chair, a name registered by Hans Christian Mengshoel.

The Ball chair

Ball chair
Ball chair

Similar in style to the Egg Chair, the Ball chair takes rounded design features to their logical conclusion, making a chair out of the hollow inside of a large, plastic bowl. Also referred to as the Globe Chair, it’s famous for its unconventional shape and is considered by many to be a masterpiece of industrial design. Created by Finnish furniture designer Eero Aarnio in 1963, the chair has become something of a design icon. You may remember it from feature films like Austin Powers, Men in Black and Zoolander.