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Why are classic chairs so expensive?
I suppose one of the reasons they cost so much is the companies producing them aren’t under any pressure to sell then cheaply. They are seen as a status symbol and so there is a certain snobbery or cachet about them.
Also, whilst the tooling costs have long been absorbed it probably does create a level of disruption on the production line where high volume models are being made. Of course if you are prepared to turn a blind eye you can save a lot of money.
What is a classic office chair?
It’s simply a chair which has sold well over a period of many years. Manufacturers decide to keep some models in production as they have already written off the cost of tooling and so can continue to make the product relatively cheaply.
Typically, classic office seats have very simple lines and as a result continue to look impressive regardless of current fashions and designs.
How does an office chair reach classic status?
Usually it’s because they have a certain timeless quality about them. They often feature in advertising or are used in reception areas where people like to use them to give an air of quality and good taste to surroundings.
Obviously from the manufacturer’s point of view there still needs to be demand for them and so this a key motivation for the main players in this area of the seating market.
Which companies continue to make classic chairs?
There are two companies most closely associated with classic office chairs, Herman Miller and Knoll. Although Herman Miller is probably best known for its Aeron chair, it actually continues to make a number of seats first launched in the 1950s and earlier.
Particularly popular are many of the chairs designed by Charles and Ray Eames who seemed to have a knack for designing seating with simple classic lines that just look good no matter what era they appear in.
Knoll’s classic designs go back even further to the 1930s. And the Barcelona chair designed by architect Mies van der Rohe still has a huge following. It can be found in many reception areas because it just looks so good in this environment with its chrome and black leather. Mind you it takes deep pockets to own one.
Should you consider buying a lookalike version?
Inevitably, other manufacturers turn out fake versions at a fraction of the cost of the genuine article. Some of them are very good and you would be hard pressed to tell the difference unless you looked really closely at them. Others are extremely poor quality with inferior leather and poor standards of workmanship and are best avoided.