The phrase "egg chair" conjures up a midcentury image of a sleek, round, pedestaled seat, shaped exactly like the eponymous egg, but with a cushioned hollow in the center. Perhaps it's populated by a chic space-age mod wearing Pierre Cardin, and flanked by a set of Eames armchairs and a Saarinen Knoll table.
But the egg chair you're picturing, may be very different from the actual, official Egg™ Chair. There are two major contenders that have a plausible claim on the "egg chair" title. One is the trademarked version, designed by Arne Jacobsen. The second is the Ovalia Egg Chair, designed by Henrik Thor-Larsen, which became a pop culture archetype, in part thanks to the movie Men In Black.
Egg™ Chair by Arne Jacobsen
$6994 — $17676, Design Within Reach
Arne Jacobsen designed "The Egg" in 1958, . Today, it's been trademarked as the Egg™ Chair, to differentiate it from the many mid-century lookalikes. It's still produced in Denmark, by the original manufacturer, .
Jacobsen's Egg is a smooth, rounded oval at the back, opening into a winged, organic armchair that nestles the occupant. From certain angles, it certainly has the curve of an egg, but it's a flexible interpretation of the shape — the chair also owes some of its character to the classic wing-back chair.
Ovalia Egg Chair by Henrik Thor-Larsen
Henrik Thor-Larsen designed his ten years after Jacobsen, in 1968. It was among the most iconic groovy home accessories of the seventies, right up there with macramé and shag carpeting, but it was discontinued in 1978.
As fate would have it, this is the stereotypical egg chair that many people picture. For one, it looks, indisputably, like an egg. But more importantly, Thor-Larsen's chair became a pop-culture icon decades after it was discontinued, when it was featured prominently in . It also showed up on TV shows like Mork and Mindy. So, while it may not be the Egg™, the Ovalia is arguably the bigger star.