Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Chair - 'Ball' chair 08702

'Ball' chair 08702

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Finland (designed)
    Finland (manufactured)

  • Date:

    1963 (designed)
    1966 (manufactured)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Aarnio, Eero, born 1932 (designer)
    Asko (manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Fibreglass and upholstery on metal base

  • Museum number:

    CIRC.12:1 to 3-1969

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Eero Aarnio's Globe chair became an icon of Pop design in the late 1960s. Similar to Op Art of the period, derived from simple geometries of squares and circles, the chair is simply a dissected ball on a pivoting circular base. Since the 1950s chair designers had experimented with one-piece seats and backs but here these elements were expanded into an encompassing micro-environment, like a pod that isolated the sitter. Aarnio even installed telephones in some Globe chairs, acknowledging that they were like small private rooms.

The pod motif recurred through late-1960s design and surely related to the popular fascination with space travel, inspired by the Apollo missions that culminated in the moon landings at the end of the decade. The strict geometries, synthetic materials and colours, and space-capsule-like character completely disassociate the chair from nature and seem to point forward to an optimistic, technological, man-made future.

Physical description

Red fibreglass revolving chair with red upholstery and red metal base.

Place of Origin

Finland (designed)
Finland (manufactured)


1963 (designed)
1966 (manufactured)


Aarnio, Eero, born 1932 (designer)
Asko (manufacturer)

Materials and Techniques

Fibreglass and upholstery on metal base


Width: 97.7 cm, Height: 119 cm, Depth: 66 cm

Object history note

This chair was purchased for inclusion in the exhibition 'Modern Chairs, 1918-1970: and international exhibition presented by the Whitechapel Art Gallery in association with The Observer and arranged by the Circulation Department of the Victoria and Albert Museum'.

Descriptive line

Ball chair (or 'globe' chair), designed by Eero Aarnio, 1963, manufactured by Asko, Finland, 1966; red metal pedestal base supporting a revolving red fibreglass globe lined with red upholstery

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Joelle D.J. Wickens, 'Documenting the Globe: Recording and Conserving Modern Upholstery Techniques and Materials Before They Disappear', in Ed. Karin Lohm, The Forgotten History – Upholstery Conservation. Linköping: University of Linköping, 2011. Papers of symposium held in Vadstena, Sweden in 2005, pp. 186-196, illus. on pp. 187, 188, 189.

Labels and date

Globe Chair
Eero Aarnio (born 1932)
Designed 1962-5, manufactured 1966

The Globe, or Ball Chair was intended by its designer to be a cocoon or private room for the sitter. Some versions even incorporated a telephone. The fibreglass sphere is mounted on a rotating pedestal base.

Manufacturer: Asko Finnternational, Helsinki
Red fibreglass, upholstery and painted metal base
V&A: Circ.12:1-3-1969 [September 2009]


Fibreglass; Metal




Furniture and Woodwork Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.