What nobody told you about the classical masterpiece
The Model Was An Inspiration From La Tripolina
The first butterfly chair was designed in 1938 in Buenos Aires by three architects named Bonet, Kurchan and Ferrari (BKF).
They were inspired by a model from the late 19th century called “La Tripolina”. Tripolina was a foldable chair made of wood and Italian leather.
You can read more about Tripolina in The New York Times.
La Tripolina (1881)
Only three armchairs were made
The three architects made three armchairs in total. No more, no less. One of them is in the Museum of Modern Art in New York today. The second is at the Frank Lloyd Wright house Fallingwater.
Nobody seems to know where the third one is. If you know, please let us know in the comment section below.
BKF At Fallingwater, Pennsylvania
The armchair was considered a copy of Tripolina
Knoll bought the rights to produce the armchair almost ten years later. It was mass produced and quickly became famous. The demand for the BKF went through the roof and many companies began to produce “copies”.
Knoll tried to defend their right to be the only producers of the BKF. They failed to defend this right though, since the courts decided that the “original piece” itself was actually a copy of the older model Tripolina.
There is no original butterfly chair
So is this an original butterfly chair? Well, yes and no.
The first three pieces were made in Argentina, a country that was very far away from Europe and USA. Had it been designed in Europe or in the United States, it is not impossible that it wouldn’t have even been approved as an authentic model in the first place.
We think it’s good that it was designed in Argentina, since it permitted the architects to make an improvement upon Tripolina. Thanks to them, there is a free market for manufacturers to create the best of what is considered by many to be most successful design of the 20th century. It gives you the possibility to find great versions of this classic in terms of comfort, style and quality.
In a way, you can say that all of them are authentic in their own way.
It’s all about comfort and quality today
The world has enjoyed almost 70 years of open rights to manufacture the classical masterpiece. Every producer makes it slightly different and there is really no “original” BKF today. It’s all about quality and comfort in the market.
If you want to determine if a BKF is good, you should look for quality and comfort, rather than originality. You want to be able to spend hours in your butterfly chair for many years.
This is the Swedish Butterfly Chair
Photo By Luumutar
We pride ourselves with the fact that we produce a very comfortable, high quality BKF. It is a slight redesign of the version created by the first architects, with special consideration for comfort. The redesign was made by Lars Kjerstadius in Sweden over 20 years ago and we therefore call it the Swedish Butterfly Chair.
Lars is very passionate about his work. He is constantly thinking about how to make the best BKF in the world. Even today the product is better than the one that was produced last year in our facilities.
We guarantee that when you buy our armchair you will be very happy with it for many, many years.