Like no other of its kind, the piece of furniture created by Hans Coray (1906-1991) stands as a hallmark of Swiss quality production. The garden chair Coray designed in 1938 was shown the following year at the Landi, the famous Swiss National Exhibition in Zurich, where it came to be seen as the embodiment of a modern and innovative Switzerland. The aluminium material and the seat’s arched shell display almost avant-garde features. Immediately after the Landi the chair went on sale for fifteen francs, but subsequently fell into oblivion for many years.
During the Second World War and in the mood of “spiritual national defence”, Swiss consumers turned back to wood as their preferred basic furniture material with a taste for traditional rustic forms. Aluminium was out. It was only in the 1950s that Coray’s chair was revived, this time featuring only sixty instead of ninety holes for the sake of better stability. Production has been in the hands of the Swiss company Vitra since 2014 after various furniture companies at home and abroad had tried to relaunch the chair, albeit with limited success. The furniture’s redesign, very much in the style of the 1938 original, was supported and monitored by the creator’s widow, Henriette Coray.
The Landi chair ranks as one of the milestones of Swiss design and, thanks to the new producers, will certainly also make its mark on the twenty-first century.