In 1938, a trio of designers in Argentina called the Austral group, presented the BKF chair, originally named Sillon BKF after it’s three creators, namely Antonio Bonet, Juan Kurchan and Jorge Ferrari Hardoy.
The rigid steel-welded frame is economical due to it’s spare linear structure and is reminiscent of an asteroid trajectory. By using two loops of steel rod welded together and a leather hide sling with four pockets to fit in the highest points of the steel frame, the butterfly chair was born.
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The design is somewhat similar to the timber framed Tripolina chair but the resemblance ends there.
It was later put into production by Artek Pascee and manufactured in much larges quantities by Knoll in the United States. The butterfly chair was a favorite in many households in the 50s, selling widely and becoming an icon of the era.
It gained popularity due to it’s simple processing of materials and low investment. Replicas of the original version used cheap canvas instead of leather to appeal to a broader audience and financial availability.
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In 2013, Bárbara Giménez Weinbaum introduced the Butterfly Twin chair, which picked up the harmonious geometry of the BKF design and was awarded a prestigious design award.
The sculptural design is popular in recreational activities because it’s easy to fold, lightweight and exceptionally comfortable. The commercial success led to a flood of replicas and by 1950, over 5 million of these chairs were produced. As an icon of Modernism, the butterfly chair looks phenomenal both as inside furniture and out on a deck.
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This chair is everything and more. It’s comfortable, portable, lightweight and known by many aliases: the Hardoy chair, the sling chair, the butterfly but by any name it is arguably the most popular chair since its creation.
Today, butterfly chairs are often used to revive contemporary upscale interiors, dorm rooms or any other trendy interior.