Good thing for those drafty English castles, otherwise someone might never have thought of attaching upholstered boards to the side of a chair, the earliest example of which some historians think might be the Ham House chair pictured left. The trend caught on, and 10 years later we had the wings integrated as part of the construction; 50 years later and the wing chair became one of the most common furniture designs in the Queen Anne period, and still persists in pretty much the same format today, drafts or no drafts.
Regardless of the functional usefulness (and/or uselessness) of the wings, reinterpreting them allows for lots of creativity on the part of modern day designers. Here’s a few of my favorites:
The LYX wingchair combines Eames-esque plywood backing with memory foam.
On the Global Views wing chair, graceful iron wings are juxtaposed with the straight angles of the arms. From Designer Insider.
An angular back and legs make for interesting negative space around the Bensen Park Lounge Chair. From Unica Home.
The wing detail makes the modern and chic Boulevard Chair from Lilly Pulitzer Home.
The unusual slope of the arms and the mid-century legs make the Ellery Wing Chair from West Elm modern (and at $499, affordable) style.
*Image courtesy of the Frederick Parker Collection at the London Metropolitan University.