The pieces that comprise designers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec’s Steelwood Chair began with Eugenio Perazza, the founder of Italian design firm (and Herman Miller partner) Magis. Perazza wanted an inexpensive wooden chair with simple joints of pressed metal. The Bouroullecs liked the idea, but wanted to take it a step further. The brothers aimed for a design that would be cost-competitive with plastic chairs, yet have a long life span and age well, developing a patina from use and wear.
The result is a straightforward design that thoughtfully combines two traditional materials: steel and wood. Skilled metalworkers use a series of complex mechanical procedures to gradually shear, coin, curve, and cut the metal pieces. The legs and round seat are milled out of solid beech. Together, the materials form a chair that is strong and durable with a natural warmth. Easy to assemble and offered in a selection of painted finishes, its subtle silhouette adapts to a number of environments. “We tried to make a chair that could fit a number of people, and it doesn’t look like a chair for rich or poor, woman or man—it’s universal,” explains Erwan. “Just made in metal and wood that will last and grow old quite nicely. The chair says, ‘Believe me that I’m a chair that will last.’”
Read more about the design’s manufacturing process at Magis here. To add the chair — or any of the Steelwood family, including its stool and table — to your dining or working space, visit the Herman Miller store.