Variations on a Theme by Corbu

The chaise

"A machine for relaxation" is how Le Corbusier described the LC4 chaise he created (with Charlotte Perriand and Pierre Jeanneret) in 1928. An icon of modern design—found in the collection of New York's Museum of Modern Art and in homes across the globe—is how we describe it today. In the 21st century, designers continue to take inspiration from this pure expression of Bauhaus principles, which rejected the decorative styles of the past in favor of furniture whose form followed its function, utilizing the new technologies and industrial materials of the modern age. Later takes on the chaise have hewed increasingly closely to the byword of Mies van der Rohe, director of the school until the Nazis shut it down as too subversive: "Less is more." The results? Read on.

THE ORIGINAL Since 1965 Cassina has been licensed by the Le Corbusier Foundation to reproduce the LC4, in classic ponyskin (also in leather or canvas) with leather neckroll. The chromed-steel cradle moves in the black steel base, allowing you to choose the perfect angle for napping, reading, or chatting with friends stuck in boring old chairs. From $1,585. Call 800-770-3568.

THE BOTTOM LINE Linea, by Francesco Rota for Paola Lenti, takes minimalism to the max, stripping the chaise down to a curve of felt-covered polyurethane with no visible supports. They're there, though, and adjust to four positions. (Cover also in faux leather or woven wool or cotton.) From $3,100. Call 917-237-0123.

THE ULTIMATE RELAXING MACHINE Under the buttery leather skin of Poltrona Frau's Larus, fingers of air flowing through channels (directed by a remote-controlled minicompressor) gently massage you as you lounge, perched above the brushed or polished aluminum base. From $5,400. Call 800-858-9374.

LESS IS MOORE Mies' call for simplicity meets the organic form of a Henry Moore sculpture in Elizabeth Paige Smith's Nude. The L.A. artist's clean-lined, sensuous chaise is made of molded fiberglass with a urethane finish used on airplanes. From $3,000. Call 212-925-5506 or 323-904-1200. (Her Red Hot Nude lounge chair will be part of an exhibit at New York's Cooper-Hewitt museum starting in mid-May.)

SUSPENDED ANIMATION The graceful sweep of Landscape, by U.S. designer Jeffrey Bernett for B&B Italia, seems to float in space above slender metal supports that almost disappear. The cover—in felt or leather—is removable; a magnet holds the headrest wherever you want it. From $3,400. Call 800-872-1697.