The Iconic Ghost Dining Chair by Kartell
A plastic chair that will never lose its appeal. Some things in life are worth buying as they last the test of time and look so good in any home style.
Here are some key details about the Ghost dining chair from Kartell:
- Designer: Philippe Starck
- Introduced in 2002
- Made from transparent or colored polycarbonate plastic
- Designed to be lightweight and durable
- Features a sleek, minimalist style with a rounded seat and tapered legs
- The seat is gently curved with a waterfall edge in the front
- The backrest consists of two slim vertical lines
- Created using an injection molding process
- Represents Kartell's focus on plastic furniture designs
- Part of the permanent design collection at the Museum of Modern Art in New York
- Received the Good Design Award from the Chicago Athenaeum in 2002
- Priced between $150-$1100
- Overall, it is designed to be an affordable, stylish and modern dining chair option
Kartell’s Focus on Plastic
Founded in Milan in 1949, Kartell pioneered injection molding and plastics to create furniture. At a time when plastic was dismissed as a cheap material, Kartell transformed it into a medium to express creativity and innovation in furniture design. The company collaborated with designers like Anna Castelli Ferrieri to release plastic furniture that was colorful, playful, and mass-producible.
Collaboration with Philippe Starck
Philippe Starck brought his minimalist aesthetic to Kartell when he designed the La Marie chair in 1999, the first transparent polycarbonate chair from the company. This collaboration paved the way for the Ghost chair, representing a technological breakthrough as the first single-piece, mass-produced polycarbonate chair. With Ghost, Kartell proved that plastic could create a fashionable, comfortable, and durable chair.
True to Philippe Starck’s signature minimalist style, the Ghost chair is elegantly straightforward in its design. It consists of two slim vertical lines that make up the backrest and a gently curved seat that appears almost suspended between the back legs. The tapered legs give it a lightweight appearance, while also providing stability.
The seat has a gentle waterfall edge in the front and curves into the straight backrest lines on either side. This combination of rounded and linear elements creates a sleek and streamlined silhouette. The transparent or colored polycarbonate plastic makes the chair seem almost ethereal and otherworldly, like a “ghost.”
Engineered for Comfort
In keeping with Kartell’s focus on functionality, Ghost is carefully engineered for comfort. The curved seat is contoured ergonomically to provide comfortable support whether used at a dining table or as extra seating. The chair's back flexes slightly to adapt to the occupant’s shape. The dimensions and proportions create a chair that can be used comfortably for hours without feeling restrictive.
Despite its slender and lightweight appearance, Ghost is quite strong and durable. The polycarbonate material and injection-molded construction ensure the chair is sturdy and built to last through years of regular use. The smooth plastic does not absorb moisture, making Ghost appropriate for indoor and outdoor use.
Variety of Colors
Ghost chairs come in a rainbow of transparent and opaque plastic colors to match any decor. Clear styles allow the beauty of the chair’s form to shine through. Opaque versions in glossy white, black, grey, orange, green, and more add a punch of color. Special editions have even featured patterns like zebra stripes or glowing in dark colors.
Mix and Match Capabilities
The colored chairs can be mixed and matched around the dining table or combined with the clear ones to create minimalist arrangements. They can also add a contemporary element to traditionally decorated rooms. Whatever the color choice, Ghost’s appearance evokes weightlessness and a certain futuristic modernism.
The Ghost chair debuted at the Salon del Mobile in Milan in 2002. It won the Good Design Award from the Chicago Athenaeum the same year and has since become part of the permanent design collection at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Recognition in the Design World
These types of recognitions, along with Ghost’s commercial success, underscore its significance in contemporary industrial design. While initially designed as a dining chair, Ghost has transcended its function to represent how plastic can be used practically and poetically.
Philippe Starck’s visionary design and Kartell’s plastic expertise produced a beautiful chair as a sculptural art object and practical for daily use. This marriage of form and function is why Ghost has taken place among the iconic chair designs of the modern era.
Affordable yet Luxurious
Part of Ghost’s lasting popularity comes from how Kartell positioned it in the furniture market. While Starck designed it with high-end fashion and style in mind, Kartell’s advanced production methods allowed Ghost to be priced accessibly. This allowed a large audience to experience its aesthetic virtues.
Pricing and Value
Ghost chairs sell for around $150-$350, depending on the vendor and color choice. This makes them reasonably affordable as far as designs by famous names go. Yet they retain the sculptural qualities and modern chic one expects from a Starck product. Ghost’s combination of upscale looks, reasonable price, and ingenious use of everyday material is central to its identity.
At Home in Any Setting
Over the past two decades, Ghost Chairs have entered countless restaurants, hotels, cafes, lounges, lobby spaces, waiting areas, and homes. Their slim silhouette and transparent look ensure they don’t overpower any space visually. The colored versions add a contemporary splash of color, whether used indoors or on an outdoor patio.
Ghost works well in modern and minimalist settings where its museum-worthy aesthetics shine. But it also often appears in more traditional interiors, where its transparent form almost disappears, leaving only its sleek lines. This adaptability and versatility contribute to its popularity across the home furnishing spectrum.
An Enduring Classic
The Ghost chair shows no signs of fading from prominence anytime soon. Its marriage of innovation, creative vision, function, and modern aesthetic appeal has proven timeless. As Kartell’s most famous product, Ghost represents the company’s lasting contribution to contemporary industrial design. It has earned its reputation as an enduring design classic that remains fresh, stylish, and inspiring decade after decade. The Ghost chair will continue haunting the world of furniture design as a standard-bearer of form, functionality, and innovation.