January 30th, 2012

Knoll Hardoy Butterfly Chair

Here is my newly updated butterfly chair aka B.K.F. Chair or the Hardoy Chair. I’m quite proud of this piece because it’s the first furniture piece that I renovated. I found the steel frame and the leather cover from 2 different sources. The frame is from craigslist, and the person that was selling gave it to me for a good price. It was extremely rusty at the time I purchased it but since it was the original, I couldn’t pass it up. With a stop at the hardware store and a couple hours of labor, I was able to renew it to it’s full glory thanks to this blog . The chair was originally owned by the seller’s roommate back in the 50′s or 60′s and it was kept in her garage for decades. This is a fine example of one man’s junk being another man’s treasure.

I ended up choosing a sienna/cognac color for the cover. I imagined leather would work well with my room and the rug so I’m pretty satisfied with my choice. Overall it looks better than I expected juxtaposed with the black bullet planter, but it’s just a place holder until I can find a small side table. It seems like my furniture hunting will never end.

Here ia a story and some great images with the chair.

” The chair was designed by Jorge Ferrari-Hardoy, Antonio Bonet and Juan Kurchan in Argentina in 1938. They introduced their new chair of leather and enameled steel at an interior design exhibition in Buenos Aires in 1940, where it was discovered by the Museum of Modern Art. At the request of MoMA design director Edgar Kaufmann Jr., Hardoy sent three pre-production chairs to New York. One is in the MoMA collection and one is at the Frank Lloyd Wright house Fallingwater, but no one knows where the third chair went. Naming the Butterfly as one of the “best efforts of modern chair design,” Kaufmann accurately predicted that it would become extremely popular. ”

“Knoll acquired US production rights of the Hardoy chair in 1947, bringing international notice and commercial success to the design. A rash of inferior copies prompted legal action by Knoll in 1950. After losing thier claim of copyright infringement, Knoll dropped the chair from its line in 1951. More than five million copies of the chair were estimated to have been produced by numerous manufacturers during the 1950′s alone. ”

Via: 1 / 2 /


  1. I spotted exactely one like this(with the leather seat) last sunday and you don’t want to know the price! Or maybe yes to be more proud of your great job? ;)

    Comment by Mid Century Home — January 30, 2012 @ 7:49 AM
  2. What an amazing job you’ve done – wonderful!

    Comment by chairsmith — January 30, 2012 @ 3:40 PM
  3. @midcentury home: Thanks for the compliment! I would love to know the price you saw it for if you don’t mind :)

    @chairsmith: Thank you! I visited your blog, and would like to say that I love your chair selections!

    Comment by modernfindings — January 30, 2012 @ 11:52 PM
  4. The chair is absolutely gorgeous!! it really matches with the black pot and the rug too!!

    Comment by mizue — January 31, 2012 @ 11:23 AM
  5. @mizue: Thanks mizue! You are always welcome to check this out at my place!

    Comment by modernfindings — February 2, 2012 @ 10:51 PM
  6. [...] suspended tetra terrarium is my candidate piece that will be perfect to hang behind the butterfly chair. Part 2 of geometric planter coming [...]

  7. How are you able to identify it as an actual BKF chair and not one of the ubiquitous knockoffs that had existed since the late 40s?

    Comment by ac — February 6, 2012 @ 7:29 PM
  8. @ac: As far as I know the metal frame is unassembled and was made from a single piece of solid cast iron, it is extremely sturdy and you can see the quality.

    Comment by modernfindings — February 6, 2012 @ 10:50 PM
  9. Where can I find the shaggy throw on the chair? It’s quite lovely.

    Comment by Minh — October 1, 2012 @ 8:49 PM
  10. @Minh: It is a sheepskin rug that you can find at Ikea with a great deal.

    Comment by modernfindings — October 5, 2012 @ 11:03 PM
  11. Looks great! Looking for a leather cover myself. May I ask where you got your brown leather cover from?

    Comment by cm — October 10, 2012 @ 3:35 PM
  12. @cm: I found my cover via ebay. The color was exactly what I was looking for, so it totally worked.

    Comment by modernfindings — October 12, 2012 @ 2:05 AM
  13. What is the name if the plant there? and where did you get that planter? Love your style!!

    Comment by Dana — January 2, 2013 @ 12:13 PM
  14. @Dana: The planter is called bullet planter that you can purchase at the store like DWR or here (http://www.hiphaven.com/retro-bullet-planter-by-hip-haven/) :)

    Comment by modernfindings — January 8, 2013 @ 11:50 PM
  15. I am looking for a leather cover like the one in the pictures for my Hardoy frame. It is the original frame and the commercially produced “new” chairs are smaller in size? Please email me with stores that carry this item in leather. Black or the tan color in these photos. Thanks: kuni11@sbcglobal.net

    Comment by Carolyn — February 21, 2013 @ 6:02 AM
  16. Hi, I was wondering an authentic original bfk chair is Really only one solid piece of iron or one piece for each side which would show 2 weld’s… Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you

    Comment by Heather — March 29, 2013 @ 6:55 PM
  17. @Heather: I hope this link helps. http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/the-butterfly-chair-highstyle-118386

    Comment by modernfindings — April 9, 2013 @ 4:23 PM
  18. Hello,
    The butterfly leather looks beautiful, are you still happy with it? What is the name of the store or seller on ebay?
    Thank you very much for your answer,

    Comment by marthe — May 2, 2013 @ 8:36 AM
  19. @marthe: I’m still happy with the chair, and the store I purchase from is here; http://www.ebay.com/sch/leathernorth/m.html?_nkw=&_armrs=1&_from=&_ipg=&_trksid=p3686

    Comment by modernfindings — May 12, 2013 @ 9:55 PM
  20. [...] via modernfindings.com [...]

    Pingback by Rząd owadów uskrzydlonych | TerrierDesign — August 27, 2013 @ 12:08 PM
  21. Came upon your blog while researching a pair of these chairs I own – I have no idea whether mine are knockoffs or original, but I am 56 and I know they’ve been in our family since I was a little kid. In any case I am selling mine on Ebay, hoping for $500 or more for the pair. I love the look of these chairs, SOOO ’50s!! Thanks for the blog – John in California

    Comment by John Ton — August 30, 2013 @ 3:11 PM
  22. We are looking to sell 4 chairs, $200 each or best offer. Located in Lower Bucks County.

    Comment by Iceroxx — September 29, 2013 @ 4:22 PM
  23. [...] Papa Bear Chair by Hans J. Wegner via Decoist Butterfly Chair via Modern Findings [...]

    Pingback by Iconic chairs - HAWKSWORTH Interiors — November 13, 2013 @ 5:16 AM

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