Hallowed as an icon for a long time, the Corona Chair, designed by late Danish designer Poul M. Volther, has enjoyed great success over many years. It was first marketed in 1964 and is still being produced today by the Danish furniture brand Erik Jørgensen.
Born in 1923, designer Poul M. Volther initially trained as a cabinetmaker before continuing his studies at the Danish School of Arts and Crafts (now The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Design). Volther was strongly rooted in the functionalist Scandinavian tradition, and the classic Corona chair is one of his most prominent marks on the Danish and international design scene.
While working as a designer at the drawing office of the Joint Danish Consumers’ Association (now Coop Denmark), Volther was appointed the job of designing a chair that utilized foam rubber, which was a relatively new and quite expensive material at the time. Since the assignment was to use a minimum of furniture fabric in the design, the chair was created with space between the different foam cushions, so that only two metres of furniture fabric needed to be used for each chair.
The chair that Volther designed at the time was called the Pyramid Chair and was stylistically a forerunner of the Corona chair that we know today. The iconic lounge chair was originally introduced with a wooden frame at the annual trade fair in Fredericia, Denmark. The complex wooden frame could only be handmade and it was a real challenge for craftsmen during introduction of the Corona chair.
The time consuming production process initially made the chair too expensive. However, a year later in 1965 at the Bellahøj trade fair in Copenhagen, Volther and Erik Jørgensen re-introduced the chair with an elegant steel frame, which is the style we know today.
The Corona Chair is simple and characteristic, like the wreath or corona that can be seen around the sun during a full solar eclipse. In fact, there was a broadcast of a full solar eclipse on the night that Volther finished his design, hence the inspiration for the name. Volther was inspired by the human anatomy, when he designed Corona in 1964, which is why it looks light but is actually as strong as a spine.
After Volther’s time at the drawing office of the Joint Danish Consumers’ Association, he gained employment as a teacher at the Danish Design School (now The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Design). Here, Volther educated and impacted hundreds of future designers with his unmistakable sense of form and strict demands regarding quality and functionality.
On the occasion of the Corona chair’s 50th birthday in 2014, Erik Jørgensen launched the chair in an anniversary edition. The anniversary edition was upholstered in a brandy coloured vegetal leather and came with the iconic steel frame. The chair bore Volther’s signature and was only available for a limited time.
Today’s Corona chair features cushions with moulded polyurethane foam, while the legs are made of matte chromed spring steel. In addition to the chair, Erik Jørgensen also produces a Corona footstool and a Corona table, also designed by Poul M. Volther.