Rover chair

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Rover chair
Rover Chair leather at Barbican London 2010 Ron Arad.jpg
Chair exhibited at the Barbican Art Gallery, London, 2010
DesignerRon Arad
Date1981 (United Kingdom)
MaterialsSteel frame, leather car seat
Style / traditionPostmodernist
Sold byVitra (Switzerland)
Height78 cm (31 in)
Width69 cm (27 in)
Depth92 cm (36 in)

The Rover chair is the first piece of furniture designed by industrial designer Ron Arad. It was made in 1981 as a fusion of two readymades and launched Arad's career. The chair is a postmodernist design, combining a car seat with a structural tubing frame.


Arad had left his employment with a firm of architects,[1] and obtained the parts to make the chair from a scrapyard in Chalk Farm, London.[1][2] The readymade[3] chair was the first piece of furniture he produced.[4][5]

The red[6][7] leather seat is from a Rover P6[8][9] and is housed in a black[10] painted curved steel frame made from a Kee Klamp milking stall.[1][6][8] Later exhibited pieces had epoxy lacquered frames.[11] The frame provides both feet and arm rests.[12]

The Rover P6 is sometimes known as the 2000. Some reports of the chair refer to it being made using seats from the 200,[2][13] P5[14] or 90.[15]

Furniture maker Joe Hall visited Arad's Covent Garden shop in the mid-1980s and then collaborated with him to make further chairs. Hall scoured the country's scrapyards for P6 seats, which cost £5–£15 each and were in excellent condition.[8]

The chairs sold for £99 each in 1981,[2] about three times the production cost.[1] Original chairs made by Arad's One Off company[9] have been auctioned by Christie's,[16][17] Bonhams,[18][19] Bonhams & Butterfield[15] and Göteborgs Auktionsverk.[20][21] Hundreds have been produced since 1981, fetching thousands of pounds at auctions at the turn of the century.[2][8][22] The success of the chair, which has become an icon,[23] launched Arad's career.[6][11][24][25]

The chairs were produced by One Off until 1989, and in 2008 were being produced by Vitra in two models.[12] A two-seater version was auctioned in 2011.[20][21]


Fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier bought six chairs[1][2] in 1981, while they also attracted the attention of furniture manufacturer Vitra.[11] The chair is recognised as a postmodernist design.[26]

A presenter of BBC Television's Top Gear sat on such a chair from 1988.[2] The chair also featured in a television advertisement for an unrelated product.[27] Arad's own children were breast-fed on the chair.[24]


The chair has formed part of various exhibitions, including those at London's Design Museum,[13] Barbican Art Gallery,[10] Timothy Taylor Gallery,[28] Paris's Centre Pompidou[11][29] and New York's Museum of Modern Art.[6][25]


  1. ^ a b c d e Fountain, John. "'Rover Chair' by Ron Arad". Creativepool Blog. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Gleadell, Colin (30 Mar 2009). "Ron Arad: the designer who redrew the borders". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
  3. ^ Manson, Neil (25 May 2005). "Chairmaster". artnet. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
  4. ^ Cohen, Tobi. "Design of the times". BMI Voyager. British Midland International. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
  5. ^ Burnett, Kate (11 March 2010). "Ron Arad". idfx. Retrieved 19 June 2012.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ a b c d Ciuraru, Carmela (17 August 2009). "Ron Arad: No Discipline at MoMA". California Literary Review. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
  7. ^ Treggiden, Katie. "out and about :: ron arad restless". confessionsofadesigngeek. Archived from the original on 11 May 2012. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
  8. ^ a b c d Baxter, Andrew (19 May 2001). "Any old iron". The Daily telegraph. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
  9. ^ a b Browne, Alix (19 August 2009). "Radical Chic". T: The New York Times Style Magazine. The New York Times. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
  10. ^ a b Heathcote, Edwin (27 February 2010). "Ron Arad at Barbican Art Gallery". Financial Times. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
  11. ^ a b c d "Ron Arad: www.c No Discipline". Exhibition trails. Centre Pompidou. Archived from the original on 21 June 2012. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
  12. ^ a b "Ron Arad – the art of design". December 2008. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
  13. ^ a b "Ron Arad: 25/25 – Celebrating 25 Years of Design". Design at the Design Museum. Design Museum. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
  14. ^ "Rover P5 Saloon MkIII". Brightwells. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
  15. ^ a b Soetriyono, Eddy (18 January 2008). "Ron Arad's Avant-garde Furniture Movement" Check |url= value (help). C-Arts. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
  16. ^ "SALE 6533 LOT 127". Christie's. 25 May 1994. Retrieved May 23, 2012.
  17. ^ "SALE 9098 LOT 322". Christie's. 16 May 2001. Retrieved May 23, 2012.
  18. ^ "Ron Arad for One Off Ltd, a 'Rover' chair, designed 1981". Auction 18807. Bonhams. 13 April 2011. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
  19. ^ "Ron Arad for One Off Ltd". Auction 20166. Bonhams. 29 March 2012. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
  20. ^ a b "Göteborgs Auktionsverk, Dags för kvalitetsauktion i Göteborg". 21 November 2011. Retrieved May 23, 2012.
  21. ^ a b "Göteborgs Auktionsverk – Kvalitetsauktion 28 november 2011. Auktionsnummer 37 – Ron Arad". 16 November 2011. Retrieved May 23, 2012.
  22. ^ Banks, Tom (0 Sep 2008). "Street art bonanza at Phillips de Pury auction". Design Week. Retrieved 19 June 2012. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  23. ^ Villinger, Carina. "Ron Arad – Before and After". designinfo. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
  24. ^ a b Seno, Alexandra A. (22 January 2010). "The Future of Industrial Design". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
  25. ^ a b Biography (PDF), Museum of Modern Art, retrieved 19 June 2012
  26. ^ Julius, Corinne (19 September 2011). "Postmodernism: the -ism with attitude". Homes & Property. Archived from the original on 17 March 2012. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
  27. ^ Aldersey-Williams, Hugh (19 June 2000). "Professor of cool". New Statesman. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
  28. ^ "Ron Arad". Timothy Taylor Gallery. Timothy Taylor Gallery. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
  29. ^ Piettre, Céline. "Ron Arad | Critique – No Discipline – Paris 4e. Centre Pompidou". parisART. Retrieved 19 June 2012.