Jasper Morrison's two icon chairs of the 1980s

June 30, 2023

Jasper Morrison's two icon chairs of the 1980s



Step into the world of Jasper Morrison, a preeminent British designer known for his minimalist and thought-provoking creations. This blog post takes you through Morrison's illustrious career, tracing the inspiration and stories behind his iconic "Thinking Man's Chair" and his groundbreaking Plywood installation. Join us as we appreciate the enduring influence of his work on the global design landscape.

Jasper Morrison (b.1959) has been one of the most well-known British designers since his breakthrough in the late 1980’s. From his studios in London, Paris, and Tokyo, Morrison works with clients such as Vitra, Flos, Magis, Rosenthal, Sony, Muji, and Andreu World. In 2001 Morrison was honored with the prestigious Royal Designer for Industry Award.

Thinking Man's Chair 1987

"Drinking Man's Chair", as first called, was created by Jasper Morrison in 1986, and is said to have been inspired by an armchair, cleaned of all the upholstery he saw on the street outside an antique shop. The armrests, with a round plate in front, would be perfect to put your drink on while sitting. The final name was however "Thinking Man's Chair" and comes from the text "The Thinking Man's Smoke" on the package of pipe cleaners that Morrison used to build the first scale model. 


The chair was originally designed for an exhibition in Japan, but was later produced in ten copies by the company Aram Design Ltd in London. Later it came into serial production by the Italian company Cappellini. In an early edition, dimensions and bending curves were written on the frame. When asked why, Morrison replied: "This chair will be frequently copied, so I will make it easy for them…"

Thinking man's chair by Jasper Morrison in 1987

Ply Chair 1988

In 1988 Jasper Morrison took part in Designwerkstatt Berlin, a project initiated as part of the European Year of Culture Heritage. Morrison’s installation was named ”Some New Items for the Home” where he presented a sparsely furnished room with just a table, three chairs and three green glass bottles. The floor and the walls were lined with ply-wood panels, and even the furniture were made using this material.

In it´s simple and restraint approach Morrison’s installation offered something refreshingly different from the current 1980s postmodern context. His exhibition was widely spread as the coming style. About the aesthetic of the Ply Chair, Morrison later remarked. “The main reason the Ply Chair looks the way it does is that I had to make it myself, and the only equipment I had was an electric jigsaw and some “ship’s curves”.


Ply Chair by Jasper Morrison 1988

Designer of the month
Axel Larsson

Axel Larsson worked for 30 years as a furniture designer for Swedish manufacturer Svenska Möbelfabrikerna i Bodafors. As an interior architect Larsson worked on a.o. the Gothenburg concert hall and for the UN building in New York.

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