The Klismos chair 2012 evolution of a classic

by Design by Todd on June 29, 2012


Klismos: style of chair with curved legs and backrest, invented by the ancient Greeks.


There is no purer or more striking furniture form in the design library of neo-classical furniture than the Greek Klismos chair. It became popular again during the French Directoire, English Regency periods and throughout the American Empire styles.

Modern interpretations of the Klismos chair:  Image below: 1940’s American Klismos Chair

Image below: West Elm has a modern version $99 for set of 2. They call them “Scandi-Greek chic” putting a Scandinavian-mod spin on the classic.



Klismos chairs have a wide concave backrest, which supports the sitter’s shoulders, or which may be low enough to lean an elbow on and four out swept saber legs. In his newest version Thomas Pheasant’s Athens Lounge Chair is exaggerated, and we mean EXAGGERATED out sweep on those legs.

Image below: The Thomas Pheasant Athens Lounge Chair

With it’s lovely sweeping silhouette and lean frame being so exaggerated we love the look, BUT… would we sit in it?

Jen: maybe – not when I was pregnant! I mean it looks like those legs would snap if I were 1 pound over weight. I’d perch on the front and lean forward.

Todd: I LOVE it.

Jen: But if you were at a house would you sit in it or avoid it?

Todd: I would avoid it sitting in it – it’s too deep – maybe with an ottoman.

Jen: You’re right it does sit very deep. While it doesn’t look comfy it still says “opulent” to me.


Basically: We think it’s a gorgeous new take on a classic form and Thomas Pheasant “can do no wrong”. How would we use it? Depends on the client – we might use it like a sculpture in a room. It makes a modern classic statement piece that’s for sure. Our Baker Showroom sales associate told us it has reinforced steel in the legs surrounded by wood so it certainly is strong enough.

What are your thoughts?


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