Lights, Camera, Furniture. 

Iconic Furniture in Film

As Austinites and film lovers everywhere celebrate SXSW Festival 2023, we'd like to shine the spotlight on iconic and timeless furniture pieces on the small and big screen. 

Eames RAR Rocking Chair & Platner Chair 

It might've been all love and war in the House of Gucci, but in the summer of 2021, there was nothing but excitement for the merger of Knoll and Herman Miller. And why not? Knoll and Herman Miller are to furniture what Gucci is to fashion, the most iconic names in the industry. The two of them together? Forgeddaboutit! Just look at the chemistry between the Eames RAR Rocking Chair by Herman Miller and the Knoll Platner Chair in this scene with Lady Gaga and Adam Driver. 

Eames RAR & Platner Chair  (circa 2021)

The Barcelona Chair 

Can you imagine James Bond sinking into a Barkalounger? No, no, no. But the Barcelona Chair screams sexy, debonair, model-magnet spy that is Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig all rolled into one.  Designed by Ludwig Miles van der Rohe, the Barcelona Chair graces the screen and adds mystery, drama and sex appeal to a few of the Bond suspense films.  

Designed in 1929 for the International Exposition in Barcelona, the timeless design made the Barcelona Lounger a perfect choice for futuristic thriller Tron: Legacy, set in 2010.  The sleek silhouettes and luxurious stark white leather bring order to the dystopian digital classic. 

The Barcelona brings the suspense in Casino Royale (2006)

Tron: Legacy (2010) The Barcelona and Eames Lounger. Pure perfection.

Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman

If ever a piece of furniture should have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, it's the Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman. Charles and Ray Eames designed it as a gift for famed director Billy Wilder. Although it didn't debut on Wilder's 1959 comedy, Some Like It Hot set, a few years later, Eames' iconic lounger got top furniture billing in the Upper East Side loft of Jane Fonda’s character on Sunday In New York.

Not to be outdone by the big screen, the hit television comedy, 
Frasier, provided viewers with an unforgettably hilarious Eames Chair television one-liner. In the seventh episode, 'Call Me Irresponsible,' Frasier gets grief for his unwillingness to seal the deal with his co-star and love interest, who accuses him of finding it "all too easy" to abstain from physical intimacy. Breathlessly he replies, "you think I don't want to pick you up right now, carry you over to that Eames classic and show you why it's, the best-engineered chair in the world?"   Classic Frasier neurotic, high-brow comedy.

Sunday in New York  (1963) Jane Fonda in the Eames Lounge Chair

Kelsey Grammer kicking back in an Eames Chair with Frasier's best friend (1994)

The Womb Chair

Raise your hand if you had a Knoll classic Womb Chair in your dorm room. Yeah, most of us would fail the Elle Woods school of school décor, but what better piece of furniture in film to capture her girl power of positivity and inspiration? Legally Blonde is just one of many movies highlighting the iconic Eero Saarinen-designed Womb Chair, inspired by Florence Knoll.     

In the 2003 film, Down with Love, Renee Zellweger transforms from meek to chic to capture the heart of Ewan McGregor, her 1960s man about town. Her Manhattan apartment has it's own coming of age, with a delicate pink Womb Chair as the focal point for her newfound femininity in space.   

Even in black and white, the Womb Chair is a stunner. In the 1953 comedy The Moon Is Blue, Maggie McNamara finds comfort in the cocoon-like curvature of the mid-century iconic chair as she navigates the advances of the eras most charming leading men, William Holden and David Niven. 

Reese Witherspoon gets comfy in a Womb Chair in Legally Blonde (2001) 

Renee Zellwegger's gorgeous pink Womb Chair in Down With Love (2003) 

The Moon Is Blue (1953) and the Womb Chair is awesome

The Bertoia Collection

Harry Bertoia's wire chairs are among the most recognized achievements of mid-century modern design, so it's no surprise they are a prevalent furniture piece in many dramas and love stories. Look no further than Miranda Priestley's Runway magazine office In The Devil Wears Prada. The Bertoia Diamond Chair, with its woven industrial metal and bold red upholstery, steals every ounce of seating thunder in the room and perfectly embodies the strength and sophistication of Meryl Streep's character in the fluid world of fashion.

In stark contrast, the Bertoia Collection of chairs can also play a subtle role.  Take one scene in The Lake Housewhere a sea of unupholstered white Bertoia side chairs surround star-and-time-crossed lovers played by Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves. The simplicity of the style gets to the rawness of the scene,  helping expose the vulnerability of their characters. Thats the beauty of the Bertoia Collection. It is versatile enough to take center stage or play a supporting role in design. 

The Bertoia Diamond Chair strikes a pose in The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

       Simply beautiful Bertoia Side Chairs in The Lake House (2006)

Furniture design can be dramatic, luxurious, and even whimsical.  Herman Miller and Knoll designs are A-list furniture legends that remain top of mind for set designers, but off-screen, in your office or home,  their magic is even more mesmerizing. Which iconic piece best tells your story?