he Butterfly chair, who hasn’t seen this chair around somewhere? It is one of those well designed classics from way back when also known as the Hardoy chair, the Safari chair, the Sling chair or the Wing chair. Actually, the design is so clever and simple, that unauthorised copies are swarming all over the place.
History of the Butterfly Chair
This chair, originally known as the BKF chair, was designed by three guys from Argentina, Antonio Bonet, Juan Kurchan and Jorge Ferrari Hardoy in 1938 (hence the name BKF). They were the partners in the Austral Group, a co-operation of leading architects in Argentina which totally defined most of the architecture and design of the 1930’s in South America. The BKF chair was actually developed for an apartment building the Austral Group designed in Buenos Aires. Soon after, the chair was shown at the 3rd Salon de Artistas Decoradores exhibition. It was there that the chair was discovered by Edgar Kaufmann Jr, the curator at the time of Industrial Design of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He brought three production-chairs to the USA, the first was exhibited in the museum, the second went to Edgar’s own home (Fallingwaters, designed by family friend Frank Lloyd Wright, lucky him!) and the third chair was never heard of anymore. No one knows where it went.
Kaufman predicted that the lightweight and inexpensive chair would become a huge success in the USA, and it did. From 1941 – 1948 the butterfly chair was produced by Artek-Pascoe, sending back royalties to Argentina. After that the Knoll company acquired the US production rights. That turned out to be a bad investment because unauthorised copies of the butterfly chair began to surface everywhere, and not only in the USA. Knoll kept losing legal action against these “illegal” producers and ever since the butterfly chair is freely produced all over the globe to this day.
I hope you enjoy this small collection of butterflies, authorised or not.
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