Our Favorite New Takes on Classic Outdoor Chairs

Whether you’re looking for an Acapulco or an Adirondack, we’ve got you covered.
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If you follow furniture fashion, you’ve noticed that many new outdoor collections look like they belong in the living room rather than on the lawn. The pieces can be comfortable, but the trend has left us longing for the familiar forms and easygoing attitude of patio classics.

We chose our favorite five and asked experts Aric Chen, the general and artistic director at Het Nieuwe Instituut in the Netherlands, and Emily Orr, the associate curator and acting head of product design and decorative arts at Cooper Hewitt in New York City, to tell us how these archetypes took over lawns, decks, and stoops across the globe. Then we gathered a group of contemporary chairs—most recently released or available in new colors—that riff on the qualities we love about the originals.

Adirondack Chairs

"There are some crazy images of Victorian people putting their parlor furniture on the front lawn," says Emily Orr. "The Adirondack chair was different for its time because it was actually made for use outdoors, from local materials that reflect natural surroundings."

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Lawn Chairs

"I grew up in Chicago, so there are a lot of wonderful midwestern vignettes where these chairs play a prominent role in my mind," Aric Chen says. "I have an image of people pulling folded ones out of the trunks of their cars at the beach or Fourth of July barbecues, carrying a 7-Eleven Big Gulp in one hand."

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Bistro Chairs

"This chair strikes me as something that’s very temporary," says Orr. "You have a quick coffee, a chat with a friend. You probably don’t want to sit on that chair for hours."

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Monobloc Chairs

"When I picture the white plastic chair, I see it discarded or empty, maybe left behind after someone’s moved or at a community center in the corner with a bunch of others after an event," Orr says. "But other molded, single-plastic chairs can be really elegant."

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Acapulco Chairs

"In my mind’s eye this chair represents nothing but urban chic," says Chen. "It’s an oddly ubiquitous design in the Netherlands, where I live, even though we’re not known for our tropical, sunny weather. Maybe it’s wishful thinking that makes it so popular. But it is comfortable."

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Edited by Meredith Mendelsohn
Selections by Gabrielle Golenda

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