I don’t remember when I saw my first Wassily chair, but I remember the first time someone I knew bought one. Few other pieces of furniture—save for an Eames chair or a Togo sofa—have served as such an effortless visual shorthand for saying, “I’m so cultured, that even my sexual acrobatics look like they were choreographed by Martha Graham.”
The Wassily was conceived by Bauhaus designer Marcel Breuer almost 100 years ago, and borrowed the namesake of its #1 fan boi, the artist Wassily Kandinsky. Inspired by the lightness and durability of his bicycle’s tubular steel frame, Breuer aimed to bring the same celebration of functionality and brut materials to his chair, calling it “my most extreme work both in its outward appearance and in the use of materials; it is the least artistic, the most logical, the least 'cozy' and the most mechanical.” Is it furniture? Yes, technically. But it’s a chair in the same way that Isamu Noguchi’s light sculptures are lamps; it’s a functional work of art that is designed as much for admiring as it is for sitting. Prior to the Wassily, musty armchairs reigned supreme. Breuer democratized design by giving the people seating that was functional, chic, and a far cry from the try-hard Edwardian club chairs of yore.
Fast forward nearly a century, and folks are still simping for the Bauhaus throne. They’re sharing tips for tracking down archive Wassilys on Reddit, making 16-minute long video essays/odes to the chair, and contributing to the 30,900+ posts for the #WassilyChair hashtag alone on Instagram. If you want to bring one home for yourself, you can 1) stalk the streets of your bougie neighborhood of choice on the first of the month, holding out hope that David Zwirner curbed his Wassily out of rich art zaddy ennui, 2) cop a brand new Wassily at Knoll for around $3,500, or 3) keep tabs on used and vintage furniture sites. eBay has authentic Wassilys for under $1,000, as well as Wassily-inspired chairs for under $200. There are even authentic vintage tear sheets of Breuer’s chair designs, which would make for some sick, expensive-looking wall art:
1stDibs is flush with archive chairs and doppelgängers, including Wassilys that date back to the 1970s to wicker Wassily-inspired chairs that your descendants will definitely fight over in the will.
… And don’t you dare leave Etsy without scoping out the site’s Wassily-inspired offerings, which include these 1980s white leather thrones for 10% off, and a brown leather Breuer-y chair for around $560.
Still not ready to blow a month’s rent on a single, sexy chaise? We see you, king. So do Amazon and Wayfair, where the Wassily-inspired chairs are flying off the proverbial shelves. This leather chair has a 4.5-star average rating on Amazon, comes in four different colorways, and has earned over a hundred (mostly glowing) reviews that praise both the quality of its construction and likeness to the real deal.
Wayfair’s iteration of the chair is also on-sale right now for 13% off, and has earned a 4.7-star average rating from over 100 reviewers, with one fan writing, “Saw this chair (or a version of it) all over TikTok and fell in love. It arrived quickly and fully assembled.”
See? That wasn’t so hard. Just because we’re kind of broke (sorry Mom; sorry God), doesn’t mean we don’t deserve to feel our Bauhaus jollies. Besides, we highly doubt your Hinge date will actually know or care about the difference between your $200 Shwassily and an archive Breuer (if they do… run?) when they’re moments away from smooching your sweet cheeks.
Happy Criterion-and-chilling, you design sleuth.
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