Prototype Chair

Designer Harry Bertoia American, born Italy

Not on view

This chair is one of Harry Bertoia’s first pieces of furniture and one of the few surviving pieces of his work in wood. Demonstrating his investigation of novel methods of construction, this is a rare and outstanding example of Bertoia’s experimentation with piecing together and laminating massive wood with veneers—his singular contribution to plywood, a modernist-favored medium that also intrigued designers such as Alvar Aalto and Marcel Breuer. The dowel construction of this chair is clearly an antecedent to the welded metal rod constructions of the chairs Bertoia would later design for Knoll Associates.

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