Klismos Chair

 Gracing traditional and contemporary design schemes with style through the centuries, the Klismos Chair has more staying power than any chair design in history. The curved, tapered legs of the Klismos chair sweep forward and rearward, offering stability. The rear legs sweep continuously upward from a single piece of wood to support a wide concave backrest like a curved tablet, which supports the sitter’s shoulders, or which may be low enough to lean an elbow on. The seat was built of four wooden turned staves, morticed into the legs; a web of cording or leather strips supported a cushion or a pelt.

Greek Relief with Klismos chair


The Klismos was a specifically Greek invention dating back to mid-fifth century BCE and fell from general favor during the Hellenistic period (323-30 BC), perhaps due to a design flaw: the legs of the chair, bending outwards and without any further support, would spread out and break when sat upon.

However, the Klismos has made numerous re-appearances, most notably in English Regency and Empire styles. Who can we thank for the continuation of this style? To name a few:  Georges Jacob in Paris- 1788,  Thomas Hope in London- early 1800s, architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe in Philadelphia- early 1800s (at some point his Klismos designs made it into the White House decor), and  T. H. Robsjohn-Gibbings in 1960. And many other esteemed names in current day design as you will see below:

Klismos from House Beautiful

via House Beautiful

Ralph Lauren Aligator Klismos

Ralph Lauren’s stylized adaptation with alligator back and altered legs.

Klismos by T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings

T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings’ very precise recreation of the Klismos chair.

Restoration Hardware Outdoor Klismos

Restoration Hardware’s aluminum outdoor Klismos Chair- yes!!!

Donghia Klismos

Donghia’s stylized ultra-modern version…

Dragonette's Klismos

Dragonette’s Klismos brings the acrylic update to the time-honored design, and it works!

 Which Klismos chair do you like best?

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  1. So informative! i loved T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings’ & Dragonette’s Klismos the best! though all are gr8 in their own way!

  2. I love this little history lesson! Wonderful post!

  3. When I first started design school, my professor told me that the Klismos was the most copied chair in history. It’s so amazing how it has transcended all types of styles especially modern. I especially love that acrylic chair! Great post!

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