Ferrari-Hardoy is one of the most important architects of Argentina. Besides urban planning and housing, he devoted himself from the mid-1930s to the design of contemporary furniture. The Butterfly Chair is considered his most famous piece.
Ferrari-Hardoy studied until 1937 at the renowned "Escuela de Arquitectura" in Buenos Aires. He then went to Europe and spent a few months in Paris, together with his college friend Juan Kurchan. Inspired by Le Corbusier who - as a representative of the „Congres Internationaux d'Architecture Moderne“ (CIAM) - had a particular interest in Latin America, Ferrari-Hardoy worked closely with him on the elaboration of a first urban master plan for Buenos Aires. Besides his work in the country’s capital, Ferrari-Hardoy was involved in the regulatory plans of Mendoza and San Nicolás; from 1944 he oversaw the reconstruction of the city of San Juan. From 1947 to 1951 he worked with Jorge Vivanco, the Argentine delegate of CIAM. In addition, Ferrari-Hardoy was lecturer at the "Escuela Industrial" in La Plata, the "Escuela de Arquitectura y Urbanismo de la Universidad del Litoral" and at the University of Buenos Aires.
Ferrari-Hardoy belongs to the generation of Argentinean architects that advocated the ideas of modernism. As a founding member of the planning office “Austral” he represented together with Juan Kurchan and the Catalan architect Antoni Bonet the works of the Committees of CIAM and CIRPAC ("Comité International pour la Résolution of Problèmes de l'Architecture Contemporaine") in Argentina.
A chair in the spirit of Le Corbusier
Austral developed pioneering projects, discussed the relevant aspects of contemporary architecture, and participated in exhibitions, competitions and conferences. Moreover, the group members were actively seeking international exposure; they exchanged ideas with architects from other countries and published the magazine "Nosotros". In addition, Austral organized cultural events and included painters, sculptors, musicians, photographers, doctors, sociologists and educators in their work.
Starting in 1937 the office had been charged with the planning works for a university town on the site of the old port of Buenos Aires, residential buildings in the southern part of the city as well as the construction of hospitals, sports facilities and schools along the central avenue Corrientes. At all their works, Ferrari-Hardoy promoted the use of composable industrial elements and employed curved glass panels and sun visors, as evidenced by the "Ateliers" (1938) at the corner Suipacha and Paraguay. Together with Juan Kurchan he developed from 1941 to 1944 a residential complex in the district of Belgrano. The building became quickly popular because of its implanted tree inside the patio.
5 million replicas in one decade
Together with Bonet and Kurchan, Jorge Ferrari-Hardoy designed the Butterfly Chair in 1938 (hence known as “BKF” in the Americas). With its sculptural design, light weight and exceptional seating comfort the Tripolina is considered the precursor of the Hardoy Butterfly Chair. For the first time presented to the public in 1904 at an exhibition in Saint Louis, the chair became quickly popular. So was the Tripolina well received among the military because of its flexible handling, and also artists appreciated the then unprecedented comfort. The chair combined metal with leather and promoted “the fusion of art, crafts and industrial production”.
In 1940, the Hardoy Butterfly Chair was introduced to the public during the third edition of a Buenos Aires-based furniture show ("Salon de Artistas Decoradores"). Following an impressive first appearance, the chair was added to the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art (New York, 1941) and became rapidly popular among artists, actors and architects. Shortly thereafter, Artek-Pascoe acquired license rights for production and marketing in the U.S. and transferred them to Knoll Associates in 1948. The chair’s commercial success led to a surge in unauthorized replicas, alone in the 1940s over 5 million „Butterfly Chairs“ have been produced. After numerous legal battles, Knoll ceased series production in 1951. Following that, the Hardoy Butterfly Chair’s unique design has been periodically reprinted by various manufacturers - since the beginning of 2010 through our company.