The Hardoy Butterfly Chair also called Hardoy Chair or BKF Chair is a design classic of the 40s. It is especially popular among design enthusiasts with high standards.
In 1938 the BKF Chair was designed by the Austral Group in Buenos Aires. The designers Antonio Bonet, Juan Kurchan and Jorge Ferrari Hardoy chose their initials as a name for the Butterfly Chair. In 1940, when the chair received the Argentinian design award, Knoll started the production and worldwide distribution. In the first 10 years the BKF Hardoy Butterfly Chair was sold over 5 million times.
Since 1941 the BKF Butterfly Chair can be found in the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York. It is one of the most successful exhibits and carries the name “design classic“ for good reason.
Also today the Butterfly Chair is produced by many manufacturers. But to many producers the original thought of achieving high quality through sustainable material usage has not been proven to be cost-effective. More and more drastically altered versions with cheap material enter the market.
Why does a piece of furniture become a design classic? Because it unites esthetics and function. Because its form is simple, but stands out at the same time. And because it does not follow any trend, but convinces with a unique design and functionality. Exactly these characteristics apply to the legendary Butterfly Chair whose organic form reminds of delicate butterflies flapping their wings.
In 1938 the chair was designed by the three Argentinian architects Antonio Bonet, Juan Kurchan und Jorge Ferrari Hardoy which is why the iconic classic has also become known as the BKF HARDOY CHAIR, according to their initials. Already in 1941 it found its way into the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Even today it is displayed there as one of primarily only three protagonists. While the second original has its place in Frank Lloyd Wright's famous Fallingwater House, the third exemplar went missing to this day.
In 1947 Florence and Hans Knoll acquired the rights for mass-producing this elegant chair. In no time, the Hardoy Chair became a style icon. In the 50s 3000 exemplars were sold per week in the Los Angeles area for example, according to estimates. But the success caused a number of copyists. This way replicas of poor quality entered the market. More and more. Hans Knoll tried to secure the exclusive rights at court – and he lost. It was because the Butterfly Chair had a predecessor: the foldable Tripolina Chair. In 1881 the Englishman Joseph B. Fendby designed the chair and had it patented.
As an Italian camping chair and mobile military furniture for the British, the Tripolina itself had become a classic long ago. Bonet, Kurchan and Hardoy had failed to trademark their further development of Tripolina. After only three years Knoll ceased production.
In the years that followed, the Butterfly Chair faced hard times. Cheap material and altered dimensions – the elegant classic was commoditized.
As admirers of perfected furniture, we regretted this process and in 2007 we decided to build the Butterfly Chair in a way that matches the original from 1938. We chose our name MANUFAKTURPLUS for good reasons. Because just like its prototype our Butterfly Chair is solidly hand-crafted with thick and naturally tanned leather. Since we strive for perfection, we put unfilled piping between the seams. This increases the seating comfort. The frames consist of steel rods which are formed to big loops and are welded. This way our BUTTERFLY Chair turns into furniture that pleases and outlives generations just like its prototype and as intended by its inventors.
Even today the icon is produced in almost all parts of the world and its quality differs. So what makes the BUTTERFLY CHAIR by MANUFAKTURPLUS that unique? Finest handicraft and seating comfort are the answer. Just try it.
Manufakturplus stands for sustainable and excellent quality. In order to meet our expectations we use traditional manual production methods. Already the frame is firmly welded. It consists of 12 mm round bar, guarantees high stability and protects your floor with small, hardly visible plastic glides.
In our case manual production means the leather is sewed together without any reduction of the material. The material's full substance remains and guarantees the desired durability. To achieve this special durability delicate spots of the leather are sewed by hand.