plywood chairs by Arne Jacobsen

Chair 3103 from 1957

 

Through the 1950s and 1960s Arne Jacobsen produced a number of chairs using shaped and bent plywood with seat and back in a single piece and usually, though not always, with a frame for legs in tubular metal - the exception being the Grand Prix with legs shaped in wood with a triangular cross section but with the three sides hollowed inwards. 

The flexibility of the plywood, with some give, provided more comfort than a seat and back in solid wood. One problem that had to be resolved was fixing the shell of the seat to the metal frames. In part the quality of the plywood that was admired … that is its relative thinness … meant you could not have fixing screws coming up from underneath and it was not really good to have screws or bolts going down through the seat and into the frame … as you would feel them as you sat on the seat. One solution was to glue an additional disc of wood or ply to the underside of the seat to take fixings and the intersection of the legs or the housings for the legs were covered by a shallow domed plate in metal or plastic. Usually, dampers were fitted towards the edge of the seat to hold the legs in place, reduce the movement slightly and to stop the legs knocking against the underside of the seat as the chair took the weight of the person sitting down.

Because the chairs are light and strong, they are ideal for class rooms, meeting rooms and lecture theatres and most of the chairs stack. However, the simple but elegant shapes of these chairs means that they remain popular for use as dining chairs in family homes.

 

The Ant Chair 1952

Series 7 from 1955

Grand Prix 1957