10 Fashion Chairs From Fendi, LV & Dior at Art Basel

Meant to look like they are “traveling in time, caught in motion.” I was told by an assistant at the Dior Medallion Chair project that Ma Yansong’s 3-D-printed chairs were the “It” chairs of Art Basel and Design Miami this year.

This year’s Art Basel saw a number of luxury fashion houses eager to show off their new … chairs? Chairs. Of course, high fashion’s fascination with furniture design isn’t exactly new. Rei Kawakubo started making (mostly nonfunctional) chairs in the ’80s, while Fendi launched Fendi Casa, an actually usable home collection, in 1988. Louis Vuitton and Hermès ventured into furniture some 30 years later, with the former inaugurating Objets Nomades — its furniture and design store — a year after Hermès debuted its first furniture collection at Milan’s design week in 2011. More recent years have seen the inception of Gucci Décor (2017) and Maison Dior (2019), the brands’ respective home-goods ventures, while Balenciaga and Miu Miu showed their own questionable furniture collaborations at Art Basel in 2019.

But back to these chairs. Yes, the pandemic led to substantial growth in sales of home furnishings, but even without that, the fashion world’s infatuation with our Sitzfleisch makes sense; fancy furniture has the same aspirational bent as fancy shoes, and if a brand can’t be on your body, surely it would like to be in your home, even if it’s not something you can actually sit on.

That was the case for quite a few of the chairs that fashion houses debuted at this year’s Art Basel and Design Miami, where Dior, Louis Vuitton, and Fendi revealed their latest experiments in furniture (or, one could argue, sculpture). Below, some of our favorite fashion chairs from this year’s events.

For its Medallion Chair project, Dior invited 17 artists to reinterpret its iconic Medallion Chair, an item that the house has typically used to seat guests at fashion shows. For his interpretation, Japanese designer Tokujin Yoshioka used layered acrylic for a chair that filters light like a chandelier.

At Design Miami, Fendi’s artistic director, Kim Jones, called upon the Botswana-based furniture brand Mabeo to curate the ten-piece installation “Kompa.” The pieces (including the Foro chair, pictured above) were all handmade by artisans across Botswana using old woodworking techniques to reinterpret the Italian brand’s history of distinct style.
Photo: Courtesy of Peter Mabeo/Fendi

Since 2012, Louis Vuitton has brought together renowned international designers to create furniture and objects for its design venture, Objets Nomades. Above is Marcel Wanders studio’s Petal Chair, which, according to a press release, features calf-leather cushions “in three special Miami colourways (light pistache, neon yellow, coral and cream).”
Photo: Marcel Wanders studio/Louis Vuitton Objets Nomades

Korean artist Seungjin Yang describes his interpretation of Dior’s chair as “simple, unique, and fun.” Made of blown epoxy resin, an assistant at Dior’s gallery admitted that she nearly had to call security to prevent a guest from sitting on this piece, which definitely should not be sat on.
Photo: SEUNGJIN YANG ©Sungmin Kim/Dior

Mabeo’s Maduo chair is made in Botswana’s Mmankgodi village and takes inspiration from a piece of Fendi jewelry designed by Delfina Delettrez Fendi with its series of interlocking F shapes.
Photo: Courtesy of Peter Mabeo/Fendi

Objets Nomades debuted five pieces from Chinese designer Frank Chou. Above is his signature armchair, “inspired by terraced fields in China and desert rock formations in the USA.” Covered in Brio fabric, it’s the first Objets Nomades piece designed for exterior use.
Photo: Courtesy of Frank Chou/Louis Vuitton Objets Nomades

My personal favorite, from French artist Pierre Charpin. To me, it recalls a compact mirror, but Charpin drew inspiration from the kinds of haute couture silhouette sketches that Dior uses in its clothing design.
Photo: PIERRE CHARPIN ©Marion_Berrin/Dior/Salone Del Mobile

Drawing from his Tswana heritage, Atang Tshikare’s work looks to beliefs and myths about the cosmos and Divinity. His interpretation for Dior is made in vegan tanned leather enhanced with constellations and beadwork in Bantu pictograms.
Photo: ATANG TSHIKARE ©Ayesha Kazim/Dior

The Shiya seat, made of panga panga wood and plywood, from Mabeo’s collaboration with Fendi. On the whole, the collection is a departure from a history of the sleek, sexy furniture typical of the Italian brand.
Photo: Courtesy of Peter Mabeo/Fendi