Classic Design

Indian Summer is coming. Take a moment and enjoy the mild weather before the winter season starts. Why not in classic design chair?

Andrej Abplanalp

Andrej Abplanalp

Historian and communications chief of the Swiss National Museum.

Beach chair, 1954, designed by Willy Guhl, produced by Eternit AG in Niederurnen (GL). Photo: Swiss National Museum

A short movie about Willy Guhl's Loop chair.

Doctors agree that a seated posture is not the most ergonomic of options for the human body. In the 1940s and 1950s, the innovative Willy Guhl sought to design an anatomically sound shape for a chair. He was aided by the patrons of a swimming bath who tested his designs and described their impressions. These endeavours resulted, in 1954, in the birth of the unique beach chair whose dynamic loop shape has lost none of its appeal to this day and which has left its mark on industrial design.

Together with the company Eternit AG from the canton of Glarus, Guhl began to manufacture his chairs using asbestos cement. Soon indications emerged that asbestos was hazardous, but the carcinogenic material was not banned until the late 1980s. Fortunately, it proved possible to recreate the characteristic shape of the chair using fibre cement in 1997, when the grand master of design launched a new edition of his beach chair.

Here you can read another interesting story about a chair which made history in design. It was Hans Coray's «Landi-Stuhl» which was the official chair on the national exhibition in Zurich 1939.

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