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The Kartell Louis Ghost Chair

an independently commissioned review   |   see all reviews


Kartell Louis Ghost Chair Independent Overall Rating: 9 of 10      [ how this works ]
9 out of 10 Stars

Price Range: $410.00 to $440.00

PROS:
This is a beautiful chair, at a good price, from a great brand and a great designer. Almost everything is a pro.

CONS:
Those god awful decals available. Thankfully they're optional. Don't get one.

OVERALL RATING:
This is a great "standard" chair. It's versatile in application, as it works in dining rooms, living rooms, patios, and meeting spaces. It's beautiful, environmentally responsible, stylish, and an icon of modern design and modern materials.

 

PRODUCT REVIEW


FIRST IMPRESSIONS
The Louis Ghost Chair is a truly unique product. Made up of a transparent polycarbonate, the chair's appearance makes good on the claim in it's name; neither here nor there, it's ghostly. The design of the chair is handsome and traditional, reflecting the Louis XV style. However, the twist on the classic design that the unmistakably 21st century material and sensibility provides is nearly thrilling. Kartell has made the old new and the tangible intangible; for this reviewer, a comparison to the science fiction film 2001: A Space Odyssey proved apt. In that film, an astronaut is drawn into a wormhole that pulls him into a kind of future; on the other side is furniture designed in the same shape and style as the Ghost, but solid. With the Louis Ghost Chair, the result is just as uncanny and new, and the transparent material adds a final twist as intriguing as the one in the film. As a piece of furniture art, the Ghost is very successful, but less so as a practical sitting device. While the chair's comfort rating is nothing to brag about, it's certainly nothing to sneeze at either. When it comes to pedigree and environmental ratings, the Kartell Louis Ghost Chair is unrivaled for quality and sustainability.
THE 'X' FACTOR
The sturdiness of the chair, which is a welcome surprise. The look of the chair, as transparent and ghostly as it is, gives the impression that the Ghost Chair is as insubstantial as it's image. This is untrue. The chair held up without any wobbling or lack of rigidity through three days of testing and observation.

This is the kind of chair that can draw some very different opinions. Some don't like the almost insouciant twist on the classical Louis XV form, and others have a mental block against plastic; that it looks or implies cheapness, or a tacky sense of style. For us, this chair hit the sweet spot of modern and classic, modern and functional.
THE BOTTOM LINE
For pedigree, style, design and modern beauty, there aren't many chairs that can rival the Kartell Louis Ghost Chair. It's the creme de la creme of plastic furniture art, and the designer and design company couldn't be any more significant in the world of modern furniture. A great buy and highly reccommended.

 

PRODUCT RATINGS


COMFORT / ERGONOMICS: 6 of 10
6 out of 10 Stars
For a straight chair, above average comfort. The material and the apparent lightness of the chair imply a possible flimsy construction, but that knee-jerk assessment is erroneous. The Louis Ghost Chair can handle strain admirably, and performs to the same standard as a wooden chair of the same type. The armests are well placed but are somewhat thin; this is, however, in keeping with the classic definitions of the chair's design. For this sort of chair, the comfort rating is more than appropriate.
DESIGN: 18 of 20
10 out of 10 Stars
8 out of 10 Stars
For this kind of chair, the quality of the design is given a heavier weight when discussing it's overall quality, as excellent design is the chief aim and most pleasing aspect of an ornamental or formal chair. The design of the Kartell Louis Ghost Chair is quite stunning. It is, first and foremost, very beautiful. The lines of the chair mirror some of the most classic furniture ever produced, in a literal and figurative sense. The engineering it took to produce this chair is rather astonishing as well, for Kartell had to pioneer new technologies to pull off some of the complicated molds, the ovoid and curved backrest chief among them. The designer is the world famous Philippe Starck, one of the greatest industrial and modern designers of his age. Everything about the chair is pulled off with grace and panache, except for one small detail...there are many versions of the chair that come equipped with a kitschy decal, of either a baby's face, a barbie head, a Japanese woman's face, a bear face, a mask, etc. They are, without exception, hideous, and they turn the chair into an eyesore. Avoid them.
STYLE: 9 of 10
9 out of 10 Stars
Again, the chair loses a little in the ratings due to the incomprehensible decal additions, but overall the effect of the chair is stunning. Phillipe Starck has outdone his always excellent, always industrial, always beautiful work with the Louis Ghost Chair. The clever inversion of classical style and the delightful effect of transparency achieved in the chair are both testments to the high quality of style the chair brings to the table. The modern twist on the old favorite is welcome and well-suited to today's design-conscious home. The chair wraps a sense of play, a sense of quality, and sense of timelessness into a single pleasing package.
QUALITY / CRAFTSMANSHIP / PEDIGREE: 10 of 10
10 out of 10 Stars
Kartell and Phillipe Starck are at the absolute top of the game when it comes to international design. Based in Milan and Paris, respectively, the two titans of design have come together on a project worthy of their talent and intellectual attention. The engineering of the chair is a truly notable accomplishment, and without the magicians of plastic at Kartell, couldn't have happened. The spirit of the chair, it's accessibility and it's stylish, fashion-forward aesthetic all come from Starck. A better or more natural partnership could not be made among the designers and design studios who define the current climate in world furnishings.
ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY: 7 of 10
7 out of 10 Stars
It's a common mistake to think that a chair made of plastic is an environmental scourge. In fact, when put in the right and responsible hands, this chair becomes a real boon to the environment because it's 100% recyclable. The rating is solidly above average, and, frankly, is probably as high as it can be for any exclusively plastic product (let's face it, not all the hands this chair goes to will be right and responsible). Kartell makes their living and their reputation working in plastic, and this chair can be disassembled and recycled quickly and easily. Additionally, the company from whom the chair is sold, Smart Furniture, has an excellent reputation in the business/environmental community.
STYLE: 9 of 10
9 out of 10 Stars
Again, the chair loses a little in the ratings due to the incomprehensible decal additions, but overall the effect of the chair is stunning. Phillipe Starck has outdone his always excellent, always industrial, always beautiful work with the Louis Ghost Chair. The clever inversion of classical style and the delightful effect of transparency achieved in the chair are both testments to the high quality of style the chair brings to the table. The modern twist on the old favorite is welcome and well-suited to today's design-conscious home. The chair wraps a sense of play, a sense of quality, and sense of timelessness into a single pleasing package.
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