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  3. The Butterfly Chair | The Story Of A Design Icon

The Butterfly Chair | The Story Of A Design Icon

Instantly recognisable and endlessly copied, the Butterfly Chair is a midcentury Modernist icon. But who designed it and where can it be bought today?


Instantly recognisable, the design classic Butterfly Chair (also known as the BKF Chair, Hardoy Chair or Sling Chair) has graced the cover of luxury design magazines, hotel lobbies and homes across the planet and been endlessly copied since its design in 1938.

It was first launched in 1940 by a team of three Argentine architects (members of an association known as Grupo Austral) by the names of Antonio Bonet, Juan Kurchan and Jorge Ferrari Hardoy. The trio had been working on a Bueno Aires apartment and needed a chair to complete the project. They drew inspiration from a folding-style chair (The Tripolina) used by the military, having admired its simplicity and portability. The Butterfly Chair was born.


The trio went on to present the chair at an exhibition in the city and it is there that the journey of this iconic chair begins. The chair caught the eye of the Museum of Modern Art’s industrial-design curator at the time, Edgar Kaufmann Jr. It was this chance encounter that the Butterfly Chair owes much of its design status to as Kaufmann promptly ordered two of the three chairs in existence, one for his parents’ new weekend home (Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater) and another for the Musuem.

In 1941 Artek-Pascoe put the chair into mass production before Knoll, recognising the design’s huge commercial potential, took over production in 1947. It was an immediate success. A rejection of the hard-edged modernism of the 1930s the Butterfly Chair’s metal base and sack seat was a welcome change for young families who bought it in droves. Knoll estimate that more than five million copies were produced in the 1950s, which forced the company to cease production.

Knoll have since released a special anniversary edition of The Butterfly Chair to mark the chair’s 80th birthday.


Today, the Butterfly Chair is made by Cuero Design who have spent over 30 years refining and perfecting the iconic Butterfly Chair. Beautifully handcrafted in Sweden from luxurious 100% full-grain leather, the Butterfly 'Mariposa' Chair is the perfect modern lounge chair.

Available in a range of naturally treated unique leather tones, the Pampa Mariposa is a signature piece that has been developed to be enjoyed in the home or workplace for generations to come. This version is 30% larger than most imitation Butterfly Chairs on the market, making the lead the way in comfort and usability.

Great Reasons To Buy The Cuero Design Butterfly Chair

  • Cuero's Butterfly Chair is the result of 30 years of refinement of the original chair. It offers an improvement in size & shape for unmatched comfort.
  • Handcrafted from the top 0.1% leather in the world. The Pampa Mariposa is made from chemical-free, 4mm thick, 100% full-grain, vegetable tanned leather.
  • Base made from 12mm solid Swedish steel for improved stability.
  • The Mariposa Butterfly Chair weighs just 12kg and since it's foldable, can be moved around the home with ease.


Shop the Knoll and Cuero Butterfly Chairs online at Utility today, with free UK mainland delivery.


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