003 Butterfly chair, 1957 / バタフライチェアとその背景

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003 Butterfly, 1957, Mid-century modern chairs, Products

How to assemble Butterfly chair / バタフライチェアの組み立て方


Butterfly chair
Designed by Lucian Ercolani for Ercol, 1957
Beech, Elm veneered plywood

Lucian Ercolani, the founder of Ercol, came to London from his native Florence in 1894.  After studying at the Shoreditch College of Furniture, he entered the manufacturing business of Furniture Industries Ltd. in 1920.  The trade name of Ercol was adopted by the company in 1928.

After the War, Ercolani started looking at the Windsor chair, a traditional icon of English vernacular furniture, and used this as the inspiration for Ercol’s Windsor range of furniture.  The simplicity and honesty of the design appealed to him as well as the fact that the timbers used, beech and elm, were plentiful and easy to work.  His take on the chair adapted the original patterns to mass production, whilst modernising the lines of the chairs and removing extraneous decoration.  The range became hugely popular.

In the mid 1950’s Ercolani started working on the Butterfly chair, then designated the ‘401 Preformed Chair’.  Clearly influenced by the designs of Eames and others, the chair utilised a moulded elm veneered plywood seat and back, the first time Ercol had used such a technique.  He combined this with the more traditional turned spindle Windsor style base and steam bent back supports.  An important part of the design was that the legs passed through the seat, as in the vernacular Windsor chair.  This makes for a very strong joint and an attractive design element.  The combination of traditional and modern created a chair uniquely set apart from other modernist designs.

Launched to the public in 1958, the chair achieved some popularity, but was dropped from the range by the 1980’s.  In 2002, Margaret Howell was instrumental in reviving the chair and it is still in production today.

We would like to say a big thank you to Edward Tadros, Lucian Ercolani’s grandson and Ercol Chairman, for his kind permission to use the design in our product.




世界大戦後、エルコラーニはイギリスの伝統家具であるウィンザー・チェアに着目し、地元で手に入りやすいブナやニレ材を使い、伝統の曲げ木工法を引き継ぎ ながらも装飾をそぎ落とした近代的な姿を取り入れ、また単純化して量産できるように改良した家具を販売し、高い人気を博しました。

1950年代の中ごろ、エルコラーニは当時流行したイームズなどのデザインの潮流にも影響を受け、合板を使いながらも伝統の工法と組み合わせた椅子 『401 Preformed Chair’』を開発します。他の椅子と違うユニークな点は、従来の旋盤工法で削り出した脚部が化粧合板の座面を通り抜け、座面からくびきをたたき込んだ 伝統的なジョイントで繋がっていることで、これがこの椅子の強度も支えています。





Link to Onetosixteen Online Shop, Butterfly chair


Link to ‘How to assemble Butterfly chair’ / バタフライチェアの組み立て方はこちら



Above is the recent production Butterfly chair  from the Ercol web site.  We referred to an original vintage one from 1960’s, pictured blow, for making this paper model, thus some little details can be slightly different.


our butterfly


Interior for the Butterfly chair

We referred to photographs of 1950’s – early 60’s British domestic interiors to recreate the background for the Butterfly chair.  Partly as a result of the production costs of large pieces of glass being reduced, the glazed areas of window and door openings increased to bring maximum natural light into interiors.   Brighter colours were used for walls and floors, also laminated boards brought freedom and variety in cabinet surfaces.



room reference01

Room-606 SAS-Royal-Hotel


drawer reference


room reference

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A furniture, product and interior designer, leading t.n.a. Design Studio, based in East London. An weekend cyclist and stamp collector.

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