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Why The Butterfly Chair is More Than Just a Seat

CEO Khai Intela
Have you ever come across a piece of furniture that not only catches your eye but also captures your heart? That's exactly what the Butterfly chair does. With its unmatched design versatility, this floor-skimming seat...

Have you ever come across a piece of furniture that not only catches your eye but also captures your heart? That's exactly what the Butterfly chair does. With its unmatched design versatility, this floor-skimming seat has been making waves in the design world. Don't let its association with dorm rooms fool you – the Butterfly chair is a true gem. From its lightweight frame to its customizable hammock seat, it's clear why this chair has become a universal favorite. In this article, we'll delve into the origins, worldwide migration, and incredible transformation of the Butterfly chair.

The History: From Buenos Aires to the World

The Butterfly chair was born from the creative minds of three Buenos Aires-based architects – Antonio Bonet, Juan Kurchan, and Jorge Ferrari-Hardoy. These talented individuals, also known as Grupo Austral, met while working in Le Corbusier's Paris studio. Originally named B.K.F., the Butterfly chair caught the attention of Edgar Kaufmann Jr., a former industrial design curator at MoMA. Kaufmann not only included the chair in Frank Lloyd Wright's "Fallingwater" but also added it to MoMA's permanent collection. This Argentinean marvel traces its roots back to the 19th-century Tripolina chair and its resemblance to the B.F.K.

The Frame: A Delicate Balance of Form and Function

Jorge Ferrari-Hardoy's genius lies in his creation of the Butterfly chair's frame. By using ultra-light, ¼-inch steel rods, he crafted a structure that resembles the wings of a butterfly. The attention to detail is evident, and it's what separates the original design from knockoffs. While modern variations may feature folding frames, true aficionados know that the original blueprint doesn't include this feature. If you're lucky enough to come across a vintage Butterfly chair frame, consider having a custom cover made to restore its former glory.

The Cover: A Touch of Argentinean Craftsmanship

To preserve its authenticity, the original Butterfly chair was handmade by the artisan Cuatrini, a renowned saddle maker. The buttery leather covers were a testament to Argentinean craftsmanship. Nowadays, you'll find a variety of cover options, including hides and canvas. These covers, suspended from the chair's "wings," offer a hammock-like experience that conforms to your body as you relax. The introduction of fabric covers has also made the chair a hit among teenagers who crave a touch of rebellion.

The Results: An Iconic Seating Option

The Butterfly chair is more than just a seat – it's a work of art that demands attention while seamlessly blending into any interior design. Whether showcased as a pair in a sitting room or standing alone in a cozy nook, this chair adds a touch of lightness to any space. Its airy design provides a beautiful contrast to heavier upholstered furniture, creating a balanced and harmonious atmosphere. With the Butterfly chair, you can enjoy a spontaneous yet sophisticated seating option without compromising on style.

Contemporary living room with large windows, a butterfly chair, and neutral colors. Photo by Paul Raeside / OTTO

In conclusion, the Butterfly chair is more than just a seat – it's a symbol of creativity, comfort, and versatility. Its rich history, innovative design, and wide range of covers have made it a beloved piece of furniture worldwide. Whether you're a design enthusiast or simply looking for a unique addition to your home, the Butterfly chair is sure to captivate your imagination. Embrace its charm and let it take flight in your living space.

Featured image courtesy of Living4Media

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