They're the seat of design inspiration. Six connoisseurs reveal their favourites
Patrick Brillet

Furniture Collector, Fine Art And Design Consultant

The Ball Chair by Eero Arnio, 1963

I bought this chair recently in Germany from Asko, the manufacturer. It has a fibreglass body, a swivel pedestal of aluminium, and it's foam- padded with fabric on top. There aren't many about - only a few are sold a year. It costs pounds 2,800.

This model was used in The Prisoner (the cult TV series) and appears in lots of futuristic movies. It's so science fiction, it looks like a space module, but it's timeless. I know people with Louis XV furniture who have one, and it complements their room.

I like to hide in it. It's great if I want to retire from the kids, especially if you turn it towards the wall. It's like a think-tank because it swivels so you can look at what you're focusing on. You can sleep in it, curl up in it, snog in it.

can be contacted on 0468 231644



The Charles Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman, late Fifties

I bought this at a country auction last year. It's made from rosewood and black leather and it cost well over pounds 1,000. I didn't buy it with the intention of keeping it - I was going to sell it, but Charles Eames is so popular now. Prices are going up all the time. It has a premium because it's made from rosewood and they can't use that anymore because of conservation.

I'd always seen this design in books and thought it was a big Seventies executive recliner, but when you see it in the flesh it's actually quite small. It's a post-war classic design. You could eat your dinner off that footstool, or stack it up with newspapers on a Sunday. It's all you need in a room.

Century Design is at 68 Marylebone High St, London W1, 0171 487 5100



Arne Jacobson Ant chair designed in 1951

I bought this from the Conran Shop three years ago. I'm a big fan of Arne Jacobson, he's one of my heroes. It's made from chrome and bent plywood with a beech veneer and it cost pounds 150. I like the shape and the simplicity; it's very light, it's very clever. I'd seen the design in museums many times and I thought how wonderful that it was still available. It was very innovative for its time, especially as it has only three legs.

It was the first chair I bought for myself. As a Japanese, I hadn't used a chair before, except for studying or work. I used to sit on the floor my whole life. I like it because it's small so it fits me; I'm not sliding around in it! It's a very handy size.

Shin and Tomoko Azumi's furniture can be seen at Flexible Furniture, The Crafts Council, 44a Pentonville Rd, London Nl, 0171 278 7700



His own design for a private commission

I designed this a couple of years back and it's a prototype for a much larger collection. It's something sleek with a good clean line but a generous spirit and generous proportions.

It's made from cast aluminium and upholstered with taffetta. It gives it a different texture and surface, which is a nice contrast to the aluminium. It's glorious to hug, actuall;, it fits the body well. I like to sit back-to-front on chairs, and it's a very sociable chair: you don't have to have your back to anybody, and the aluminium gives off some interesting reflections.

I love the asymmetry of it. It looks like it's moving in one direction, then it moves in another. This chair responds to the colour, light and movement of people in a room, it changes all the time. You can play with it.

Gabhan O'Keeffe can be contacted on 0171 259 5658



19th-century French chair, designer unknown

I bought this chair as a set of two from an antique shop in Westbourne Grove about eight years ago. I used to go back year after year to see if they'd ever get chairs like that again, but they never did. I can't remember how much they cost, but it was an awful lot. I find this chair's proportions quite perfect. Because it was originally water-glazed, it's in the state which I love furniture to be in, which is this worn-away look with clues as to what it looked like in the past.

I've never seen any other chair like thisone, and I go to auctions weekly. It's been photographed for magazines a lot and it's always been the chair that people want to buy. I could have sold the pair 100 times over, but I would never let them go.

Carolyn Quartermaine's work can be found at Chez Joseph, 26 Sloane St, London SWI. Tel: 0171 245 9493



Thirties armchair

I found this in a skip outside my house about five years ago and it's part of a set. I spotted it under a pile of wood and managed to drag it 30 metres down the road to my house. I envisaged that Mr and Mrs Smith from Number 1 were bought a new suite by their son and chucked out the old one they had for years. I spray it different colours depending on my mood. It was dark green when I got it. and this week I've sprayed it New York Taxi yellow.

I was just amazed that this could be thrown away. It's a classic design, but I don't know who designed it. It's just incredibly comfortable. I just love the way it sits in a room like it's saying, "Hello! Come and sit on me!" I want to put larger wheels on the bottom so I can whizz it around the studio.

Mark Lawson Bell can be contacted on 0181 985 3433