Our March Madness Classic Chair competition gets down to the wire.

Oh what a difference a decade makes. For this latest match in our classic chair version of March Madness, Chad Falkenberg of Falken Reynolds Interiors takes us through the attributes of these two iconic seats from the mid-century modern period: the Platner Lounge Chair and the Bertoia Side Chair.

The History: Under Knoll, Harry Bertoia had little instructions for what would become his Bertoia Side Chair in 1952, he was just supposed to give bosses a heads up if he made anything interesting. Thinking a lot about what he would want in a chair, he felt himself strongly drawn to wire. After a ton of artsy exploration, this seat emerged. Just over a decade later, towards the end of the mid-century modern period when things were getting more expressive, came the Platner Lounge Chair of 1966. Designer Warren Platner appreciated the decorative and graceful kind of design à la Louis XV, but wanted to create a chair (also under Knoll) with a more rational base—not just mere decoration. “I thought, why separate support from the object,” explained Platner. “Just make it all one thing. Starts at the floor and comes up and envelops me, supports me…What I wanted to achieve was a chair that, number one, was complementary to the person sitting in it.”

Which is the best classic chair? Designer Chad Falkenberg goes over the pros and cons:


Platner Lounge Chair

PROS: The gentle curves of this chair will bump up the sophistication of any room and add a sculptural element in a classic (read guy-friendly) way in this metallic bronze finish. The wire base creates a sense of lightness and refinement so it’s great for both large and small spaces.

CONS: The low back makes it a more formal chair, not a curl-up-with-a-novel chair.


Bertoia Side Chair

PROS: The all wire version is super casual and can add a sculptural element. Different colours can be selected for the basket frame, base frame and the upholstered seat pad so it can be a great way to add a pop of graphic colour. 

CONS: A lot of people find this chair a bit uncomfortable so it’s good to test it out—a sheepskin is a great way to mitigate for those who don’t quite want to suffer for design.

Which chair do you think should win? Comment below!

Check out the full March Madness (Classic Chair Edition) bracket here.