Dezeen Magazine

Ovalia Egg Chair by Henrik Thor-Larsen

Dezeen's A-Zdvent calendar: Ovalia Egg Chair by Henrik Thor-Larsen

Danish designer Henrik Thor-Larsen's retro-futuristic 1968 Ovalia Egg Chair is the 15th iconic seat design in our Christmas countdown this year.

The Ovalia Egg Chair is perhaps best known for its use in the Men in Black films, but was designed thirty years before by Henrik Thor-Larsen.

"Ovalia is a classic furniture design," said the product's official website. "A chair with a lot of attitude."

The design comprises an egg-shaped reinforced fibreglass shell, painted glossy white, with a portion removed from the front. Coloured padding surrounds the small space inside, and extra cushions upholstered to match are added to the seat and back.

The fabric is available in more than twenty tones, while the circular base on which the seat rotates comes in painted or polished aluminium.

Ovalia was originally exhibited at the Scandinavian Furniture Fair in 1968 and was sold worldwide for a decade until production stopped in 1978.

It regained prominence more recently when it was used in a number of scenes in the 1997 film Men in Black. For the movie's 2002 sequel, promotional posters showed actors Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones sat in matching versions of the design. The chair went back into mass production as a result.

Henrik Thor-Larsen sat in his Ovalia Egg Chair
Henrik Thor-Larsen sat in his Ovalia Egg Chair

"It is just as contemporary today as it was then and is back in the spotlight for its relaunch," said the site. "Apart from a few improvements, there have been no visible changes to the design."

The chair's creator, Henrik Thor-Larsen, originally built plastic chassis for racing cars. He then designed the seats for auto brand Saab's Sonett model, before turning his attention to industrial design.

Each Ovalia Egg Chair comes with a Sterling silver medallion, and is signed and numbered by the designer.

Another Danish designer to name a product Egg Chair was Arne Jacobsen, whose seat for the SAS hotel in Copenhagen came 10 year's before Thor-Larsen's design but was only ever intended as a limited edition. The Garden Egg Chair by Peter Ghyczy also features in our A-Zdvent calendar as the letter G.

Dezeen is publishing an A to Z of iconic chairs to count down the days until Christmas. Catch up with the list so far »