If you want to capture a look that is at once timeless and nostalgic, there is no better way to do so than to bring a mid-century modern (MCM) chair into your home.
While there are a number of famous designs to consider, one of the most iconic is the Womb chair & ottoman.
In this guide, we will introduce you to some of the highest quality options on the market today for a replica of the Womb chair & ottoman.
But first, let’s talk a bit about the history of the set, what features make it distinctive, and what you should look for in a high-quality replica.
The History of the Womb Chair
Who designed the Womb chair?
The answer is architect Eero Saarinen.
This Finnish-American designer lived from 1910 until 1961, and is famous for both his furnishings and his buildings.
Indeed, his most well-known work is probably the St. Louis Gateway Arch. He also designed the Washington Dulles International Airport.
While he was studying, he befriended Florence Knoll as well as Charles and Ray Eames, all of whom were also key figures in mid-century modern design.
After their studies were completed, these friends would continue to work together professionally.
In partnership with Knoll, Saarinen designed the Womb chair & ottoman, the Womb settee, the Tulip chair, the Grasshopper lounge chair, and others.
Indeed, Saarinen made the Womb chair in answer to a request from Florence Knoll for “a chair that was like a basket full of pillows – something she could really curl up in.”
Two years later, the Womb chair was born.
Why is the Womb Chair Iconic?
While the Womb chair dates back to 1948, it has created a timeless legacy. Decades later, it is still among the most recognizable chair designs.
The history of the Womb chair and the fame of its designer account for some of its success—but the design of the chair itself is part of its genius.
Florence Knoll was not speaking figuratively when she said she wanted to be able to curl up in the chair. She wanted to be able to pull in her knees and rest her legs on the chair.
The deep, rounded design of the chair with its reclined back and seamless arms is “a cup-like shell into which you can curl up and pull up your legs,” as Saarinen described it.
So, this design maximizes versatility. You can sit in it pretty much however you want. If you want to curl up in it like an unborn child in its mother’s womb, you can. If you prefer, you can put your feet on the floor or you can prop them up on the accompanying ottoman.
The Womb Chair in Media
A lot of people are familiar with the Womb chair, even if they don’t realize it, because it has showed up in movies.
Some films that include the Womb chair are Legally Blonde, The Moon is Blue, Torch Song, and Down with Love.
These appearances have added to the legend of the Womb chair, making it all the more recognizable and glamorous.
What to Look for in a Womb Chair Replica
The following features will ensure that you are purchasing an accurate replica of the Womb Chair:
- The measurements of the Womb chair should be 40” wide, 34” deep, and 35.5” high. The height of the seat should be 16”. The arm height should be 20.5”.
- The legs should be seamless tubular steel. A variety of plating options are acceptable including chrome, black paint or polished 18k gold.
- The shell of the seat should be made from foam-covered molded fiberglass.
- A wide variety of upholstery options are acceptable.
Who Makes the Best Womb Chair Replica?
There are lots of options out there for replicas of Saarinen Womb chairs. But there are only three we recommend.
Best Quality: Knoll Womb Chair
Knoll, the company that first manufactured Womb chairs, still makes them today. So, our top recommendation if you can afford it is to buy a Knoll Womb chair.
Indeed, a Knoll Womb Chair is not a replica. When you order from the site, you are getting a real Knoll Womb chair. It simply is not a vintage chair.
Indeed, you can have it made to order, selecting the frame finish and upholstery that you want. There are many different color options, so you can achieve a perfect match for your home décor.
Best Overall Value: Eternity Modern
If you cannot afford a real Knoll Womb chair, your next best option is a quality replica from Eternity Modern.
This company does beautiful work for a reasonable price, and has 13 years of manufacturing experience, allowing them to ensure a Womb chair that is “identical to the original.”
The only finish available for the legs is chrome, but there are a wide variety of upholstery options to choose from.
Best Budget Buy: Kardial Womb Chair
Finally, if you are on a tighter budget, there is one more option worth considering, and that is the Kardial Womb Chair, which you can buy on Amazon.com or directly from Kardial.com.
While there are not as many upholstery options available, these chairs are made by hand, allowing for excellent attention to detail in terms of craftsmanship.
While the measurements are not identical, the overall quality is great for the price.
Still, when you consider that you are getting a fairly close replica to the original Womb chair for a fraction of the full cost you would pay to buy the chair from Knoll, it is a pretty good deal.