I remember watching Sleepless in Seattle when it came out in 1993 and thinking Jonah had the coolest chair I’d ever seen – and that was it.
But now, watching it again as an adult and as a follower of design, I had to find out more about it.
I started by researching “egg chairs” and soon discovered that term opened up a whole can of worms, or, rather, a whole timeline of chairs! His chair is the most recent in a long design lineage of chairs. Jonah’s chair, originally known as the Alpha Stereo Chair, was designed by Lee West (dates unknown) and was made for Krypton Furniture. It is now called the ModPod Egg Chair and they can now be purchased from a company called inmod.
But the story behind this “egg chair,” I think, begins in 1957, with Arne Jacobsen’s design of the first named Egg Chair.
Jonah’s egg chair has arm rests that are reminiscent of an Eames design.
Also from 1948, and also featuring a similar arm rest design is the Womb chair, designed by Eero Saarinen.
The final design component I noticed on Jonah’s chair was the base. This great swivelling base that makes the whole scene in the movie as he and Jessica spin the chair around using only the tips of their toes that touch the ground. This base must have been inspired by Eero Saarinen as well, in his Tulip Armchair from 1956.
And finally, there is another egg chair …not like Jonah’s and not like the original by Jacobsen, but one from 1968 designed by Henrik Thor-Larsen. It was first shown at a Scandinavian furniture fair in 1968 and became a quick classic – and let’s face it, shape-wise, it is the most deserving of the name, Egg Chair.
The chair was manufactured from 1968 to 1978 and has been so popular that the company re-released it in 2008.
The egg chair, not to be confused with the ball or globe chair, by Eero Aarnio from the early 1960s, is a term that encompasses more chair history than I would have ever thought of in 1993 when I just wanted Jonah’s cool chair.