The Butterfly Chair: What Exactly is a Butterfly Chair?

by interior designer

in Furnishings

The Butterfly Chair is and has been a hugely popular piece of seating furniture at least since the 1950’s. Designed in 1938 by an Argentinian architect named Jorge Ferrari-Hardoy, the Butterfly chair was originally called the Hardoy Chair. However, the later and more colorful name of ‘Butterfly Chair’ became the more recognised name. During the mid-20th Century, the Butterfly Chair became the icon of modernity in the furniture sector, largely due to its minimalist design.

So what exactly is the Butterfly Chair? Basically, a Butterfly Chair is a single piece of fabric that is draped over a wooden or metal frame. In many ways they are similar to the traditional beach chair yet their form is different and more aesthetically pleasing as an item of furniture than can be added to the home interior. That said, the Butterfly Chair is pretty terrible in regards to giving support for the human body. A person sitting in a Butterfly Chair is forced to slump and numerous analogies of being placed in a sling have been humorously created.

The Butterfly Chair was never designed to be an ergonomic miracle and so the form over function that this iconic little chair provides outweighs the physical necessities. What the Butterfly Chair does give, in many ways due to the psychological significance of bad posture, is a sense of relaxation. One knows when sitting in the Butterfly Chair that the posture is not ideal yet it’s not meant to be and thus one can almost sprawl and let go with mild abandon. This makes the Butterfly Chair ideal as a reading or conversational piece of seating furniture.

Given that the majority of Butterfly Chairs are light in weight and easy to carry about, this makes them ideal chairs for multiple locations including outdoors as well as indoors. The cultural history and iconic significance of the Butterfly Chair mean as much today as they did in the 20th century and thus, whether used in a functional way or as a decorative accent for a room, they will work equally as well.

Unfortunately, those who were devout fans of the Butterfly Chair in the 1960s are probably less enthusiastic about the chairs nowadays, at least in the form of comfortable seating. For the elderly, overweight and infirm, the use of a Butterfly Chair is not advisable due to its nature. It’s a difficult chair to push off from, to stand up from, because as noted before, it is basically a sling and the weight is pushed to the center.

Whatever age you are, you will find some meaning and use can be found from the Butterfly Chair and they make nice additions to a multitude of interiors. These can include the home library where it can be used as a temporary reading chair if placed next to a bookcase, or in a basement games room where a few can be purchased for use with visiting guests and friends when playing snooker or computer games. Of course, it’s a shame to miss out on the iconic form of the Butterfly Chair and so their placement in a living room, hallway, bathroom or bedroom would not go amiss.

If you like the Butterfly Chairs in the pictures then you can buy them from here: Collection of Butterfly Chairs in Various Designs.

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