We’re pining after Donald Judd’s furniture, on sale during Frieze New York

Pine stool next to a white shelf placed on a colourful rug. Behind is a book wall shelf with windows on both sides
’Pine Library Stool 42’ and ’Corner Chair 15’. Photography: Brian Ferry. Courtesy of Judd Foundation and Donald Judd Furniture
(Image credit: Brian Ferry)

Throughout his four-decade career, Donald Judd embodied the definition of the word polymath, working as a writer, artist – and in the last two decades of his life he also designed furniture. During the 1980s and 90s, Judd devised more than 70 pieces of furniture in a number of wood and metal finishes that have been sold since the eighties, and from his death in 1994, as made-to-order pieces.

‘The art of a chair is not its resemblance to art, but is partly its reasonableness, usefulness, and scale as a chair,’ wrote Donald Judd in his 1986 essay, On Furniture. Judd’s furniture is still available, made by their original fabricators with his own specs and finishes. Instead of having to wait weeks, two of Judd’s iconic chairs, the ‘Corner Chair’ in clear anodised aluminium, and the ‘Library Stool’ in pine, will be available as ready-made pieces, online from 1 May, and in person from 4–7 May at Frieze New York.

Judd wrote that he made the mistake of attempting to make something as unusual as a piece of art when somebody had asked him to design a coffee table in the mid-70s. ‘Back of this was the assumption that a good chair was only a good chair, that a chair could only be improved or changed slightly, and that nothing could be done without a great, strange effort,’ wrote Judd. 'But the furniture slowly became new as I dealt easily with the reality. A good chair is a good chair.’

The chairs Judd designed carry minimal, straight lines. The ‘Corner Chair’, which is produced in Switzerland, forgoes the standard chair back, adding two sides so that it will fit perfectly in a corner. Three of the four sides it stands on are covered, and right below is a level that can be doubled as storage space. The ‘Library Stool’, which is made in California, is basically an open cube aside from the seat, with the four legs of the base connected.

LEFT: Corner of a coffee table on black and white stripe carpet, photographed from above. RIGHT: Marble table with chairs and a pendant ceiling light

Table 12’ (detail). Photography: Brian Ferry. Courtesy of Judd Foundation and Donald Judd Furniture

(Image credit: Brian Ferry)

LEFT: White shelf photographed with a book shelf in the background next to a window. RIGHT: green shelf photographed against a white wall, next to a black shelf on a black and white rug

Left, ’Corner Chair 15’Right, ’Armchair 1, Turquoise blue/RAL 5018’ and ’Stool 5, Black blue/RAL 5004’. Photography: Brian Ferry. Courtesy of Judd Foundation and Donald Judd Furniture

(Image credit: Brian Ferry)


For more information, visit the Donald Judd Furniture website

Ann Binlot is a Brooklyn-based freelance writer who covers art, fashion, design, architecture, food, and travel for publications like Wallpaper*, the Wall Street Journal, and Monocle. She is also editor-at-large at Document Journal and Family Style magazines.