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MoMA Exclusive: Designed in the 1950s, this beechwood folding chair, a design recently acquired by MoMA’s collection, uses a combination of molded plywood and machined slots—details that lighten the structure both visually and physically. They also provide ventilation and reduce the weight of the chair. The pivot points are positioned to fold the chair in one smooth movement, and it can be stowed neatly to save space (although you’ll probably never want to fold this beauty away).
The Rex Lounge Chair was designed by Niko Kralj, who was one of the central figures of Slovenian post-war industrial design. In 1962, he received the highest Slovenian award for culture, the Prešeren Award, for his achievements in architecture and design. The Rex Lounge Chair was Kralj’s most successful furniture design and it won numerous first prizes in international competitions.
The Rex Chair is the most internationally notable Slovenian design object and has become a cult collectible among design connoisseurs around the world. Because the chair can be folded, in addition to being lightweight, it was an ideal solution for small post-war apartments. It was also a popular choice for public places such as hotels, club rooms and covered terraces.
The Rex Chair is featured in MoMA’s current exhibition Toward a Concrete Utopia: Architecture in Yugoslavia, 1948–1980, on view through January 13, 2019. Niko Kralj was renowned as an architect and designer in post-war Slovenia, which was a constituent republic within former Yugoslavia.