ISSUE 21  |  Cottages + Color

Design Sleuth: Ercol Stacking Dining Chairs

May 25, 2011 8:30 PM

BY Christine Chang Hanway

When I first spotted the iconic, midcentury Ercol Stacking Chair at Margaret Howell's showroom in Marylebone, what started as a schoolgirl crush developed into an obsession. I found myself stalking them late at night on eBay, bidding furtively on chairs and helplessly watching them being snatched up by buyers in Tokyo and Seoul. After convincing my husband (an architect) to sever his ties to our too-large existing chairs, I finally secured a set of eight Ercols for our smallish dining room in London. Why do I love them? Maybe for the same reason that all those discerning buyers in Tokyo and Seoul do—the chairs are spare and sculptural; yet functional, practical, and stackable—the perfect seating solution for those of us who live in small spaces.

Above: Vintage Ercol stacking chairs in situ at Rochelle Canteen. Photograph via Flickr.

Above: The sculptural qualities that inspired my initial schoolgirl crush; photograph via Flickr.

Above: Artist Martino Gamper painted Ercol stacking chairs for his double-arch installation in the courtyard of the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2009; photograph via Flickr.

Above: The Ercol Stacking Chair, designed in 1957, was originally used in schools and meeting rooms; available at Haus in London for £250.