Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Most Iconic Furniture in Film and TV

Set design plays a huge part in creating the look and atmosphere of a film or TV show. Sometimes, the furniture takes a background role, visually reinforcing the mood or the character's personalities. In some cases, the furniture lends itself to more profound roles, like a character’s sudden realisation or transformation. And in other cases, we see how interior design is used to enhance the action or mood of a scene or character. One way or the other, furniture shapes the atmosphere and characters in the film and shows. Here are some most iconic pieces of furniture in television and film history.

Sheldon's spot in The Big Bang Theory
The main character in the sitcom, Sheldon loves to sit on the left hand side of a simple brown leather sofa. It was bought for $100 and is a central theme to various episodes in the series. Sheldon perfectly describes his 'favourite' spot in the pilot episode. There's nothing special about the design but it does tie the room together harmoniously.

Image Credits: Warner Bros. Television
Central Perk's couch in F.r.i.e.n.d.s
Running for 10 seasons from 1994 to 2004, Friends became one of the most popular sitcoms of all time.  The orange coloured mohair sofa was a seat in the coffee shop where the characters in the show made it as their meeting point. It fits the decor of the Central Perk perfectly. In 2011 the couch was put up for an auction where it was expected to sell between $4,000 and $6,000. The final selling price remains a mystery.

Image Credits: Warner Bros. Television

The gag couch in The Simpsons

One can easily say it is the most famous sofa in TV history. The longest running animated TV show, which across 29 seasons has a couch gag running just before the opening credits. Today the sofa is so iconic; it appears in every episode without fail. The gags in the opening titles have a satirical tone, with the whole clan rushing to make it to the simple brown couch in time to watch TV. Who would have ever thought that a cartoon could powerfully change the way we feel about our sofas?

Image Credits: 20th Century Fox Television

Oprah's couch in The Oprah Winfrey Show

The popular talk hosted by Oprah Winfrey was started in 1984 till 2011 and penetrated into the American pop-cultural consciousness. She was snagging an estimated 7.4 million viewers an episode. The cream-coloured sofa got its popularity when the actor Tom Cruise jumped on the sofa out of joy when he declares his love for Katie Holmes.

Image Credits: Harpo Productions, King World Productions, CBS Television Distribution

Martin's chair - Frasier

In the hit TV show, Frasier Crane has his designer furniture beautifully complementing his flawlessly decorated apartment until his father Martin moves in with his green striped Barcalounger. In spite of owning an Eames recliner with an ottoman, his father refuses to give up the chair which suggests that it was a comfortable piece of furniture.

Image Credits: Paramount Television

Ovalia Egg Chair - Men In Black

Designed by the Danish industrial designer Henrik Thor-Larsen, the Ovalia Egg Chair made its debut in the 1960s at the Scandinavian Furniture Fair. It featured in the films Men in Black and Men in Black II. The feeling of encapsulation makes egg chairs incredibly comfortable to sit back and relax in. These striking chairs gave everyone a glimpse of what futuristic furniture could look like.

Image Credits: Columbia Pictures

The Emperor's Throne - Star Wars 

The Imperial Throne held by Emperor Palpatine in the original Star Wars trilogy is one of the most iconic furniture in science fiction. The throne was the ceremonial chair utilized by the leader of the Galactic Empire, the Galactic Emperor. In large part because of its occupant, Emperor Palpatine, wearing plain robes and a cowl, the throne's design was primarily simple, consisting solely of a swivel-mount contour chair. On its armrests are control keys for enabling communications to Imperial officers, as well as the activation of a personal shield generator and a Royal Guard summoner. The throne captures the character perfectly and in the best possible way.

Image Credits: 20th Century Fox

The Iron Throne - Game of Thrones
In the popular TV show, hundreds and thousands of swords were bent in such a way to create that beautiful masterpiece - a throne. The iron throne is forged from over thousand swords that were melted down by the fiery breath of the dragon, Balerion the black dread.  The swords were surrendered by the defeated enemies of the first king, Aegon the Conqueror. The symbolism of the throne is far deeper. Made of steel and swords, it’s a bold statement that evokes power and strength.

Image Credits: Warner Bros. Television

The Ruby Armchair - The Matrix 

The red leather chesterfield armchair in the sci-fi film The Matrix is immortalised. The chair adds assertiveness to the character of Morpheus and makes Neo suggestible by falling for this offer. The chair really gives Morpheus an air of sophistication as he sits back and imparts his wisdom to Neo. Not only is it a great looking chair, it also looks very comfortable to sit in. Most of the iconic scenes in the film take place from this armchair.

Image Credits: Warner Bros. 

Blofed's leather chair - You Only Live Twice (James Bond film)
The famous leather swivel chair used by villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld in the James bond films also goes into the list of the most famous chairs. In the film, You Only Live Twice (1967), the villain sits with his white cat on the 6250 chair launched by the very British company G Plan in 1962. The swivel idea was borrowed from the very best offices in the 60’s, adding the appeal of rocking and the sheer convenience of gliding. The original chair from the Bond film set was sold in Julien's auctions for $16,000 in 2014. To mark the 60th birthday of G Plan, the brand reintroduced the iconic armchair and called it 'The Sixty Two', which was made with the latest materials and techniques so that it captures that same level of quality and comfort the original was renowned for.

Image Credits: United Artists

The Bench - Forrest Gump
Based on a book, the Academy Award-winning movie Forrest Gump has the main character sitting on the bench next to a stranger and narrating his story.  Today you may find a replica of the original bench in Chippewa Square in Savannah, Georgia so you can click pictures posing on it, but the original bench used in the movie has since been placed in the Savannah History Museum.



Bocca Lips Sofa - Austin Powers
Would you say it is one of the loudest piece of designer furniture ever made? Perhaps it could make a bold statement or add a groovy, humorous twist to a contemporary style home. Inspired by Salvador Dali’s Mae West lips sofa, designed in 1936, the Bocca Sofa has been recreated in many forms over the years including Marilyn Monroe’s lips. Studio 65 Architects designed this masterpiece for Gufram which became a part of the pop culture when the sofa made its first appearance in the movie Austin Powers. Today, Bocca is among the most sought-after, loved, and imitated products of home furniture.

Image Credits: New Line Cinema

Claw-foot bathtub sofa - Breakfast at Tiffany's 

Breakfast at Tiffany’s furniture and decor set design is still fresh in our minds and the film has taken a rightful place in history as a true cultural classic. The unusual claw-foot half bathtub sofa which takes pride of place in Holly Golightly’s (main character) living room is cushioned with pops of colour in the otherwise neutral apartment which acts as a beautiful backdrop to the action and costumes. These pops of colour also symbolise her enigmatic and eccentric personality.

Image Credits: Paramount Pictures

Captain's chair - Star Trek
Star Trek remains one of the most legendary science fiction franchises of the last century. Captain James Tiberius Kirk’s chair from the original “Star Trek” series is reserved for the commanding officer of the Enterprise. The chair itself has become so powerful in its implications, using the term ‘the chair’ has come to mean not just the acting authority, but all the responsibilities that come with commanding a Starfleet vessel. Many a scene took place which saw Kirk giving Chekov and Sulu commands from the chair while arguing with Mr. Spock. The chair itself was a very boxlike shape with a cutaway for the seating area. This was then padded with leather. In 2002, the chair from the original series was auctioned for $304,000 and then displayed at the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame in Seattle.

Image Credits: Paramount Pictures

Womb Chair from Down With Love 

In the film, not one, but two pale pink womb chairs were found in the character Barbara Novak’s home. The scene where she’s on the pink phone, wearing that midriff-baring shirt and shorts along with these two chairs in her fine 60s apartment, teams with great choices of decor and furniture. Eero Saarinen designed the chair in 1948 in response to Florence Knoll’s request to create a chair to “curl up in”. This mid-century classic supports countless positions and offers a comforting oasis of calm—hence the name.

Image Credits: 20th Century Fox

Eames lounge chair - House M.D.
The Eames lounge chair is the most popular furniture and which has become an icon of modern design and is easily found in many films and TV shows. The recliner is designed by the American Modernist designers Charles and Ray Eames. In House M.D., the character is seen sitting on this chair with his legs on the ottoman and thinking pensively. Dr House gets clues to solve some of the rare medical conditions when he is focused on his chair. The recliner is in a fabric cream colour and not the usual leather we see.

Image Credits: NBCUniversal Television Distribution

Barcelona Chair from Casino Royale
The famous chair was designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in 1929 for the International Exposition held that year in Barcelona. Started out as a luxurious object fit more for monarchs, the chair soon was in demand and aspired the most fashionable architects and captains of industry. Knoll took the production of this chair and today has a wide range of these chairs as well as other modifications. James Bond (Daniel Craig) sits in a Barcelona chair as he awaits the return of M (Dame Judi Dench) after breaking into her apartment in Casino Royale (2006). He stays seated as she tears into him; the lack of arms on this chair allows us to see him as vulnerable. One of the most recognized objects of the last century, and an icon of the modern movement, the Barcelona chair exudes a simple elegance that epitomizes Mies van der Rohe's most famous maxim–“less is more.” Each Barcelona piece is a tribute to the marriage of modern design and exceptional craftsmanship.

Image Credits: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Columbia Pictures

Other popular furniture seen in TV shows and films include - Jerry's couch in Seinfeld, The Foreman's Basement Couch in That '70s Show, The Wicker Couch in Golden Girls, Tulip Chair from Star Trek, Ox Chair from Austin Powers, Arne Jacobsen’s Egg Chair in Zoolander.


Share this Post Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Email This Pin This linkedin
instagram

2 comments: