What Is a Pod Chair?

M.C. Huguelet
M.C. Huguelet
Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

In the minds of many design enthusiasts, the pod chair is a prime example of the hyper-modern aesthetic of the 1960s. Combining a boldly colored bowl-shaped seat with a sleek base, the chair is at once functional and futuristic. Those who wish to add a touch of mod style to their homes might consider purchasing either an original pod chair or a reproduction piece.

It is believed that the pod chair was conceived by the Swedish furniture design firm Overman in the mid-20th century. The design rapidly gained popularity in Europe and North America. In the 1960s, the chair became a fixture in many living rooms, lounges, offices, and other spaces decorated with an eye for the modern.

While the exact design of a pod chair can vary from piece to piece, each generally consists of a bowl-shaped seat which is wide and shallow. The front “lip” of the bowl is cut away, allowing the user to assume a normal sitting position, with his knees projecting beyond the seat’s edge and his feet touching the floor. Often, the seat features two cushions, one which lines its bottom and one which sits against its back. Generally, the entire seat as well as the cushions are covered in padded upholstery. Solid fabrics in bold tones such as red, orange, or white are commonly featured, making these chairs extremely eye-catching.

The bowl-like seat of the chair rests upon a base which is usually made from metal. This base typically consists of a pole anchored by an X-shaped stand or a flat, round pedestal. Some of these bases have a natural metallic finish, while others are coated with slick paint in a color intended to provide a striking visual contrast to the unit’s seat. Usually, these bases have a swivel capability, allowing the chair’s user to rotate his seat according to his needs.

Those who wish to add a modern touch to their décor might consider purchasing a pod chair. Original pieces can often be found through vintage furniture retailers, although an authentic unit which is in very good condition can be fairly expensive. Budget-conscious shoppers may be able to purchase an affordable reproduction piece from a furniture store or general merchandise retailer. To prevent misunderstandings while searching for one of these pieces, it can be helpful to note that the term pod chair is often mistakenly used to refer to the type of seating furniture properly known as egg chairs, ball chairs, or bubble chairs.

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