I’ve always thought there’s something particularly inviting about a chaise longue or daybed. They’re perfect for reading, eating chocolates, flicking through magazines and generally being a bit self-indulgent – something the ancient Greeks knew all about when they took to reclining on them during their frequent symposia. In modern times it is Le Corbusier’s great contribution to the oeuvre that most would say is hard to beat. So powerful is the allure of the chaise longue that interesting designers frequently feel compelled to come up with their own riff on this perennial favourite.
SCP, which specialises in furniture with roots in the modernist movement, is celebrating its 30th anniversary by reissuing some of its earliest designs – including two daybeds. Turner Prize-winning artist Rachel Whiteread first created her version for an exhibition during Glasgow’s Year of Architecture and Design in 1999; now SCP is making it widely available. Whiteread, famous for her large cast sculptures, created the underside of a single bed and covered it in a rough Bute Tiree fabric (£4,125). Meanwhile, Michael Marriott’s Missed daybed (£3,745, second picture), also first launched in 1999, clearly pays homage to Mies van der Rohe’s famous Barcelona version with its leather upholstery and austerely beautiful lines.
Elsewhere, celebrated Dutch designer Kiki van Eijk’s Domestic Jewels chaise longue (£9,500, fourth picture) is inspired by 18th-century Louis XVI furniture. Available from Mint in a limited edition of eight, it has a sleek polished chrome base and upholstery in a jacquard fabric woven with silver and gold thread developed specially in collaboration with a Dutch textile museum.
Also at Mint is a design from Well Proven Chair, a studio run by Marjan van Aubel and James Shaw, who incorporate hardwood shavings that would otherwise go to waste into their pieces. They use a bio-resin that expands when mixed with the shavings, forming a lightweight mouldable foam structure that is reinforced by the fibres in the wood. They’ve used this technique to create the Stromboli daybed (£4,900, first picture) that doubles as a striking piece of contemporary sculpture.
Another daybed (£22,800, third picture) that is rather more sculpturally beautiful than physically inviting comes from interior designer Faye Toogood. Part of her Roly Poly series and available in an edition of eight from Gallery Fumi, it is made from a milky, translucent fibreglass and features a perfectly spherical headrest and a carefully moulded oblong body.
And finally, with a completely different aesthetic, there is Max Lamb’s Woodware Daybed (£9,000 from Gallery Fumi). Made from ash, lime, oak and sapele, it reminds one of beautifully wrought Japanese wooden furniture. It comes with its own specially made, merino wool-covered mattress – in other words, it’s a daybed you really can fall asleep on.