Interior Designers on the 7 Most Comfortable Chairs
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Interior Designers on the 7 Most Comfortable Chairs

Seven seats, as recommended by design pros.

Mon, Sep 13, 2021 9:19amGrey Clock 4 min

WHILE WE anxiously wait to resume regular programming, comfort has become a high priority on the home front. With that in mind, we asked scores of interior designers to name the most sink-into-able chairs available today. Two respondents enthusiastically backed the Song Armchair from 3-year-old British company Maker&Son. New York designer Ghislaine Viñas called it “freakishly and deliciously comfortable…[it makes] you want to immediately curl up and snuggle.” Who among us wouldn’t welcome a hug from a chair these days? Here, six more designer-recommended seats waiting to embrace you.

Gerrit Rietveld’s 1935 Utrecht Chair

Greg Roth said his team at Home Front Build, in Los Angeles, is in love with Dutch modernist Gerrit Rietveld’s 1935 Utrecht Chair. “The incline of the seat and backrest are just so, with a very gentle and comforting slope that welcomes the body and encourages relaxation,” said the senior designer. Don’t let its angular lines spook you, he said. “This chair is firm, yes, but also cushy and soothingly comfy.” From approx. $6025 for standard size,

RH’s Yeti Sheepskin Armchair

Miami designer Travis London chose RH’s Yeti Sheepskin Armchair, calling out its long-shorn fluffy pelt. “The fur is incredibly soft, warm and comfortable,” he said. The silhouette nods to midcentury French design, with upholstered elements filled with poly-fibre wrapped around a foam core. “The cushion feels like it’s a memory-foam mattress, and it’s the perfect height to sit just right.” approx. $3052,

a funky 1980s chair

Years ago, Jenny Dina Kirschner, founder of Brooklyn’s JDK Interiors, paid $150 for a funky 1980s chair she found online. When it arrived at her office, its filthy condition kept her from sitting on it, but a visiting client plopped into it. “I was preparing coffee for us, and she yelled to me, ‘Oh my gosh, Jenny. This is the most comfortable chair I’ve ever sat in!’” Ms. Kirschner impulsively offered the client the chair, which was then reupholstered. “It feels like a fluffy cloud hugging you,” said the designer, who sometimes wishes she had kept the chair for herself. The model can still be found online, “for a lot more money,” she said. 1980s Vintage Post Modern Curvy Accent Chair, approx. $4755,

Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman

The Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman was the seat our respondents cited most frequently. “The bent plywood veneer and leather make it comfortable and durable,” said architect Grant C. Kirkpatrick of the midcentury modern classic. The partner at Los Angeles’s KAA Design Group added that the wide base and reclining angle make it “great for reading.” Tish Mills appreciates that it’s a good fit for both men and women, regardless of height. The Atlanta designer, who has included the pair in both contemporary and traditional homes, also values its timelessness. “It is like a chameleon and works in every space.” From approx. $7466,

Quiver Klismos Chair from Soane Britain

One of the few traditional chairs our designers singled out, the Quiver Klismos Chair from Soane Britain riffs on 18th-century revivals of the ancient Greek klismos design. Said Amanda Lindroth, an interior designer based in Nassau, Bahamas, “The scale is just right and it encompasses you.” Its classic shape, leather cladding, tufted cushion and brass socks and casters make a very posh and proper perch. From $14,266, available at retail in the U.K. and through the trade in the U.S.,

the Pitu Chaise Lounge Chair

“The whole idea is to give the sensation of being suspended in a hammock,” said New Orleans designer Valerie Legras of the Pitu Chaise Lounge Chair from Brazilian design distributor Sossego. The seat comprises a Brazilian wood frame and a canvas sling “reminiscent of a suspension bridge over a waterway” that supports down/feather cushions. “Last time I sat in one, I was in the Sossego showroom in Chicago and wearing a noise cancellation headset. I felt so relaxed.” Chair, from approx. $6739, and Ottoman, from approx. $2241, Sossego


Reprinted by permission of The Wall Street Journal, Copyright 2021 Dow Jones & Company. Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Original date of publication: September 12, 2021.


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China’s EV Juggernaut Is a Warning for the West

Competitive pressure and creativity have made Chinese-designed and -built electric cars formidable competitors

Thu, Jun 8, 2023 4 min

China rocked the auto world twice this year. First, its electric vehicles stunned Western rivals at the Shanghai auto show with their quality, features and price. Then came reports that in the first quarter of 2023 it dethroned Japan as the world’s largest auto exporter.

How is China in contention to lead the world’s most lucrative and prestigious consumer goods market, one long dominated by American, European, Japanese and South Korean nameplates? The answer is a unique combination of industrial policy, protectionism and homegrown competitive dynamism. Western policy makers and business leaders are better prepared for the first two than the third.

Start with industrial policy—the use of government resources to help favoured sectors. China has practiced industrial policy for decades. While it’s finding increased favour even in the U.S., the concept remains controversial. Governments have a poor record of identifying winning technologies and often end up subsidising inferior and wasteful capacity, including in China.

But in the case of EVs, Chinese industrial policy had a couple of things going for it. First, governments around the world saw climate change as an enduring threat that would require decade-long interventions to transition away from fossil fuels. China bet correctly that in transportation, the transition would favour electric vehicles.

In 2009, China started handing out generous subsidies to buyers of EVs. Public procurement of taxis and buses was targeted to electric vehicles, rechargers were subsidised, and provincial governments stumped up capital for lithium mining and refining for EV batteries. In 2020 NIO, at the time an aspiring challenger to Tesla, avoided bankruptcy thanks to a government-led bailout.

While industrial policy guaranteed a demand for EVs, protectionism ensured those EVs would be made in China, by Chinese companies. To qualify for subsidies, cars had to be domestically made, although foreign brands did qualify. They also had to have batteries made by Chinese companies, giving Chinese national champions like Contemporary Amperex Technology and BYD an advantage over then-market leaders from Japan and South Korea.

To sell in China, foreign automakers had to abide by conditions intended to upgrade the local industry’s skills. State-owned Guangzhou Automobile Group developed the manufacturing know-how necessary to become a player in EVs thanks to joint ventures with Toyota and Honda, said Gregor Sebastian, an analyst at Germany’s Mercator Institute for China Studies.

Despite all that government support, sales of EVs remained weak until 2019, when China let Tesla open a wholly owned factory in Shanghai. “It took this catalyst…to boost interest and increase the level of competitiveness of the local Chinese makers,” said Tu Le, managing director of Sino Auto Insights, a research service specialising in the Chinese auto industry.

Back in 2011 Pony Ma, the founder of Tencent, explained what set Chinese capitalism apart from its American counterpart. “In America, when you bring an idea to market you usually have several months before competition pops up, allowing you to capture significant market share,” he said, according to Fast Company, a technology magazine. “In China, you can have hundreds of competitors within the first hours of going live. Ideas are not important in China—execution is.”

Thanks to that competition and focus on execution, the EV industry went from a niche industrial-policy project to a sprawling ecosystem of predominantly private companies. Much of this happened below the Western radar while China was cut off from the world because of Covid-19 restrictions.

When Western auto executives flew in for April’s Shanghai auto show, “they saw a sea of green plates, a sea of Chinese brands,” said Le, referring to the green license plates assigned to clean-energy vehicles in China. “They hear the sounds of the door closing, sit inside and look at the quality of the materials, the fabric or the plastic on the console, that’s the other holy s— moment—they’ve caught up to us.”

Manufacturers of gasoline cars are product-oriented, whereas EV manufacturers, like tech companies, are user-oriented, Le said. Chinese EVs feature at least two, often three, display screens, one suitable for watching movies from the back seat, multiple lidars (laser-based sensors) for driver assistance, and even a microphone for karaoke (quickly copied by Tesla). Meanwhile, Chinese suppliers such as CATL have gone from laggard to leader.

Chinese dominance of EVs isn’t preordained. The low barriers to entry exploited by Chinese brands also open the door to future non-Chinese competitors. Nor does China’s success in EVs necessarily translate to other sectors where industrial policy matters less and creativity, privacy and deeply woven technological capability—such as software, cloud computing and semiconductors—matter more.

Still, the threat to Western auto market share posed by Chinese EVs is one for which Western policy makers have no obvious answer. “You can shut off your own market and to a certain extent that will shield production for your domestic needs,” said Sebastian. “The question really is, what are you going to do for the global south, countries that are still very happily trading with China?”

Western companies themselves are likely to respond by deepening their presence in China—not to sell cars, but for proximity to the most sophisticated customers and suppliers. Jörg Wuttke, the past president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, calls China a “fitness centre.” Even as conditions there become steadily more difficult, Western multinationals “have to be there. It keeps you fit.”


Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’

Americans now think they need at least $1.25 million for retirement, a 20% increase from a year ago, according to a survey by Northwestern Mutual

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