Cesca Chair Roundup

I started looking for new dining chairs back in September, and I was struggling with not being 100% in love with anything I was finding. I had something in mind, but couldn’t imagine it, if that makes any sense. And to make matters more difficult, I wanted something that was upholstered, and my husband wanted something that was not. He loves clean, midcentury design and while I appreciate those styles, I prefer something a with a little more character.

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After more time looking at dining chairs on the internet that I would like to admit, I found the one. The classic Cesca Chair. Designed by Marcel Breuer in 1928, these cantilevered beauties are made from industrial tubular steel, and have a mix of caning and upholstery styles for the seat and back. Ninety years later, they still look fresh. I love them so much because I feel like they represent the epitome of balance. It’s the best of everything. Shiny, modern, vintage, upholstered, mixed material, clean, new, old, timeless, edgy…. Ah, just so much love. I can’t get enough. I know my list doesn’t make sense, but I don’t think any of those adjectives are wrong.

As an incredibly popular and iconic chair, I would fully expect replicas and knockoffs galore. I honestly thought that snagging some of these for myself would be similar to picking up some Eames replicas for $50 per chair. I was very wrong. I rounded up nearly all of the options I could find, but I decided that I’d hold out


 $1,640.00 from Design Within Reach. DWR makes all of their furniture in the USA, and uses exact specs from the original design.

$1,640.00 from Design Within Reach. DWR makes all of their furniture in the USA, and uses exact specs from the original design.

 $189.99 from Seats and Stools.

$189.99 from Seats and Stools.

 $99.00 from Scandinavian Designs. A great price, but shipping is almost the same cost as the chair.

$99.00 from Scandinavian Designs. A great price, but shipping is almost the same cost as the chair.

 On sale for $188.33 (down from $429.31) from Sears.

On sale for $188.33 (down from $429.31) from Sears.

 $535 from France & Sons. They only carry the armed version, but they look great and usually have nearly 50% off sales.

$535 from France & Sons. They only carry the armed version, but they look great and usually have nearly 50% off sales.

 $124 from Restaurant Furniture Warehouse, with free shipping and finish options!

$124 from Restaurant Furniture Warehouse, with free shipping and finish options!

In my search for the perfect chair at the perfect price, I also came across these gems. Funky and modern interpretations of the Cesca. I love the nod to the classic design and really wouldn’t mind having any one of these.

 $449.00 from Room and Board. This one is a fun take on the original!

$449.00 from Room and Board. This one is a fun take on the original!

 $249 from West Elm. I like that these look comfy. And they come in a beautiful leather option.

$249 from West Elm. I like that these look comfy. And they come in a beautiful leather option.

 $229.00 from Urban Outfitters. I’m very wary of the durability of the bent cane back, but this one is another fun interpretation of the classic.

$229.00 from Urban Outfitters. I’m very wary of the durability of the bent cane back, but this one is another fun interpretation of the classic.

So which did I go with? None. I held out and patiently waited for the Craigslist post of my dreams to show up. After a few months, it did, and I snagged four authentic (!!) vintage Cesca Chairs. I’m so happy with how they look in our little dining nook. They need a little bit of work, but that’s part of the fun!

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I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again…buying secondhand is important to me. It’s not only an affordable route, but it’s also better for the environment, and so fun to find the needle in the haystack, and give an object a second life.

Grace van MeurerComment