Chair: Wassily Chair
Tester: Erika Owen, contributor
The details: This is a chair most people have seen before they realize the story behind it—call it iconic. Designed by Marcel Breuer, the chair was inspired by a bicycle frame and, if you take a close look, this isn’t that surprising. The steel tubes certainly resemble a bike and the leather seat straps do give off bike seat vibes in a specific kind of way. It was first introduced in 1925 and reproductions have been in the works ever since.
Price: How much does it cost? Are there payment plans available?
You can purchase the chair from Design Within Reach at $3,600. There are payment plans available through Affirm, starting at $101 per month.
What are the upholstery or customization options? Did you choose any? Are there free swatch options available?
There are nine options when it comes to color and fabric. For leather, you can choose between black, brown, cognac, cream, deep green, red, and white. There’s also a natural canvas and a cowhide option. The frame is the same for all and made of polished steel. I tested out the white leather, which was super luxe and fit right into my minimalist second bedroom.
What is the lead time for customization, manufacturing, and delivery?
The lead time depends on what color you’re going with. Currently, there is a six-week lead time for all options except the cowhide, which has a 20-week lead time. Keep in mind that this often changes based on inventory.
What are the dimensions? How does it fit in your space? Would it be better suited for a different type of home?
The chair is large, but no bigger than a traditional lounge chair. If anything, the negative space in the design makes it appear to take up less space than it does. I do think this is a conversation piece, so if you drop it into a super casual space, it’s quickly going to become the focal point of a room. I paired it with a large corduroy sleeper sofa with major Scandi vibes and some midcentury wiggle-based lamps. The dimensions are 27″D x 31″W x 28¾”H.
Sit Test: Is it comfortable? Does it feel well made? Does the chair have a tendency to sag?
I spent a lot of time reading in this seat, and found the chair is super comfortable for the first hour or so—but hit that two-hour mark, and it’s a little less so. I am a person who likes to move around and adjust quite a bit, and the seat width didn’t allow for a ton of this. On the flip side, my partner could sit on this chair for days without complaint. So I would suggest considering your fidget style before going all in.
Overall, the design feels incredibly well-made. There was no sagging in the seat after extended use and the steel frame is sturdy—I’m a plus-size person and am sensitive to when a chair doesn’t feel supportive. I didn’t have any doubts about this one. I will say that if you have wide hips, you may find some discomfort in the frame’s rigid structure after a long sit.