Lookalikes: Tan Leather Butterfly Chairs
Last week I did a styling gig, working with a designer on a photo shoot for her portfolio and to pitch for media coverage. The place was a contemporary lake house. I'm not using the word cottage because to me it connotes smallish size and rusticity. This place was spacious and 100% new — just months old as a matter of fact. But the designer's vision for the space did incorporate reclaimed wood walls and wood-and-iron accent tables so the vibe was not unlike the image above. The living room needed a few finishing touches to make it photo-ready so we decided to bring in a tan leather butterfly chair. Our first choice would have been a leather safari chair, but on short notice that was simply not an option. I found two great tan leather butterfly chairs on the market locally and that lead to a bit of rekindling of my affection for them. Here's what I found:
This one is from Structube. It's a total bargain at $199 but I found the scale to be a bit skimpy, which is not uncommon at the low price point. It measures 27inW x 22.5inD x 35.5inH. I have to say that in person it looks better than this image. The leather isn't so shiny in real life. I like that it has a matte black frame. It would be great for a kids room, a dorm or first apartment. Just add sheepskin. (It's also available in black leather and cowhide)
This is the 1938 Tobacco Leather Butterfly Chair from CB2. It's $549 and the leather is wonderful. The frame is in an antiqued zinc finish. I wish it was black. The scale is more generous than the Structube version: 30in W x 30inD x 34.5inH. It definitely seems more substantial and the price still feels reasonable.
I was curious about the origins of the Butterfly chair so I Googled. Turns out the design is attributed to Buenos Aires architects Antonio Bonet, Joan Kurchan and Jorge Ferrari Hardoy. The chair is sometimes known as the BKF (Bonet - Kurchan - Ferrari). The chair was created for an apartment building in the Argentine city in 1938 (hence the name of the CB2 version). Knoll added the Butterfly chair to its collection in 1947. I think the design must be free of any copyright restrictions by now because there are just so many versions. The one you see above is probably the closest thing to an official version. It's the Polo London made by Big BKF of Buenos Aires and is priced at $545US. So. Beauteous.
I'm still a bit conflicted about the notorious difficulty one experiences trying to get up out of one of these. I might be inclined to overlook that given the extreme good looks and sculptural appeal of these babies. Here's an inspo gallery to ponder.