There is nothing anachronistic about the type of smoking chairs - also called club chairs - that members of London's elite gentlemen's clubs of the 1800s would relax in, cigar in one hand, brandy in the other. Indeed, these large, comfortable, high-backed, luxurious seats are enjoying a resurgence, as designers reinvent them for modern - and usually smoke-free - households.
Belgian designer Stefan Schoning has come up with the Smoke chair (below) for Antwerp-based design house Feld (feld.be). A modern interpretation of the classic club chair, the Smoke has also been inspired by Bergere chairs, the popular, wide, upholstered seats produced during the French regency period. The Smoke comes in muted beige or taupe leather, the fabric covering every inch of the square-ish chair.
For Amsterdam-based design house Moooi Gallery (moooi.com), designer Maarten Baas has taken the assignation to heart, creating a black leather Smoke chair (above) made from burnt wood. The result: a chair that is both regal and edgy, featuring a tufted leather back rest and sculpted wood legs.
Turkish designers Seyhan Ozdemir and Sefer Caglar (autoban212.com) have a smoking chair inspired by the Bergere called the 213 Bergere. The outer shell is in wood (choose from walnut, white oil oak or Danish oil oak) and the seat rest is upholstered in a microfibre suede material in neutral, muted colours. The shape feels enclosed, connoting privacy, but the silhouette is modern.
It's not all about elite designers, however. That iconic American discount retailer JC Penney (jcpenney.com) offers its Cameron Place Velvet Club chair for less than US$300. In the same price bracket is the Noho Bi-cast Leather club chair, made of soft, plush leather (overstock.com), which looks perfect for curling up in with a book, if not a cigar.