The Secret History Of: The bubble chair

It's a bit space age, a bit glamorous, a bit indoor hammock. The Bubble chair was built to swing lazily on a landing or to be suspended in a room full of books but within reach of a martini.

The chair is so perfectly designed that it comes as a shock to realise that it hangs from the ceiling only by accident. In the Sixties, the designer, Eero Aarnio, wanted his chair to be transparent and couldn't find a way of making a clear pedestal so he had to hang it instead.

The Finnish designer is one of the 20th century's greatest innovators. He broke from traditional designs and experimented with colour, plastic and organic curved forms. His work is now in the collections of the V&A, MoMA and Vitra Design Museum.

To understand the Bubble, it is first necessary to look at the Ball. Aarnio, in the best tradition of great inventors and businessmen, wanted something, didn't have it so made it himself. "We had moved into our first home and I had started my freelance career in 1962," he says. "We had a home but no proper big chair, so I decided to make one, but in some way a really new one. After some drawing I noticed that the shape of the chair had become so simple that it was merely a ball. I pinned the full scale drawing to the wall and 'sat' in the chair ..."

He then knocked up a prototype. The idea was also to create a room within a room that would protect the user from outside noise and on a turning pedestal that would allow him, or her, to turn to or away from the room. When two young managers from Asko, a Scandinavian kitchen and laundry appliance company, visited Aarnio, they were so impressed they wanted to put his new chair into production too.

"I wanted to have light inside it and so I had the idea of a transparent ball where the light comes from all directions," Aarnio adds. "The only suitable material is acrylic which is heated and blown into shape like a soap bubble, and again the name was obvious." As there was no way to make a totally clear pedestal, the chair was hung from the ceiling.

The Sanderson Hotel in London eveb has a bubble-chair in the lobby. Sadly, the proper version costs nearly £5,000 although, as with all design classics, there are lots of copies around for which you can knock a zero off the price.

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Solicitor - Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - A great new opportunity with real pot...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Private Client Solicitor - Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - An outstanding senior opportunity for...

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower