The BKF Chair, a design icon
If you have been following RARDO-Architects and our work as architects and interior designers in Sitges for some time, you probably have noticed that in a lot of our pictures and projects appears to be a very special piece of furniture. Let´s unveil its history!
The chair B.K.F., popularly known as the Butterfly armchair, is one of the best-known designs of the 20th century. Its initials correspond to the names of the architects: Antonio Bonet, Juan Kurchan and Jorge Ferrari Hardoy (founders of the Austral Group), who met in Paris in the studio of Le Corbusier. Inspired by a folding military seat used by the English army in the 19th century, the original Butterfly chair (1938) was composed of a solid iron structure and a leather seat; today it can be found in numerous materials and colors. After almost 80 years it is more fashionable than ever.
Produced initially by Artek-Pascoe, Knoll acquired the manufacturing rights to the Butterfly chair in the mid-1940s. In 1944, the MoMA of New York incorporated the chair into its furniture collection. The fact is that Knoll decided to abandon the manufacture immediately due to the large number of copies that others manufactured (the numbers speak of more than 5 million copies produced in the United States since the 1950s until the late 1990s).
Knoll went to court to continue making it, but not considering an original model, but a variation of another previous (the Tripolina), lost all the demands and left production. The original case of the Butterfly chair was made of natural leather, but nowadays it can be found in different fabrics: canvas, cowhide, pony skin or sheepskin. The leather model is perhaps the best known as it is very versatile and brings an indisputable elegance to any interior.
The Butterfly, moreover, has become today an essential as an outdoor chair. It can be found in many weatherproof fabrics. On the other hand, it is a lightweight and easily transportable chair.
The contrast between the stiffness of the steel structure and the flexibility of the skin, plus its relationship between form and function that allows multiple ways of sitting, were the keys to the rapid success of the Mariposa chair, which today produces dozens of furniture companies . The excellence of this chair is based on its comfort, since the fabric adapts perfectly to the body. The variety of colors and fabrics in which the Butterfly can be found is innumerable; it’s really hard not to find a model that fits you.