The butterfly armchair: a design icon reproduced in series
At the beginning of the 1930s, modernity invaded housing thanks to the generalization of electricity. The organization of the interiors evolves: living room and reception area, the living room becomes the central room of the house. This small revolution is accompanied by a new vision of design. Furniture becomes minimalist, and metal and leather take center stage.
In 1938 in Argentina, the architects Antonio Bonet, Juan Kurchan and Jorge Ferreri Hardoy created an atypical chair. Consisting of a structure of curved tubular steel rods on which is suspended a piece of leather or fabric, it is inspired by the Paragon, a field chair used by the British army in the 19e century.
Called the BKF chair (from the name of these designers), the Papillon chair was marketed by Artek-Pascoe from 1945. However, it was thanks to Knoll, which produced it from 1947, that it enjoyed worldwide success. Its popularity earned it to be imitated – to the point that lawsuits followed and Knoll stopped producing it.
Renamed the AA armchair in the 1950s in reference to the French architecture magazine “Architecte d’Aujourd’hui”, the butterfly armchair is now produced by Airborne. And this design icon is still widely copied.
Leather, hide, metal mesh: the Papillon armchair is immediately distinguished by the choice of materials and the care given to the finishes. Noble materials or cozy textiles create a contrast with its minimalist structure. The Papillon armchair brings a design and yet simple and authentic touch to the decor. Its extreme sobriety also allows it to adapt to any type of interior.
With its raw and refined appearance, the brown leather AA armchair remains a safe bet thanks to its little adventurer spirit. It is an excellent choice to enhance a loft decor or to give character to a modern interior.
Timeless, the black leather Papillon armchair sublimates a very mineral urban decoration, dominated by a modern material such as concrete.
Sublime in raw leather version, the AA armchair also knows how to be very soft, especially when dressed in sheepskin. And it brings a resolutely design touch to the chalet decor as well as to the bohemian interior.
Often imitated, the original Papillon armchair nevertheless continues to hold the top billing. Its secret is its ability to stick to trends, by adopting the most up-to-date materials such as linen. The seat is also interchangeable, and it is therefore possible to revamp the AA armchair at will.
This icon also regularly offers limited editions – the opportunity to adopt a piece that will make your interior truly unique.
From now on, the Papillon armchair is available in an outdoor version. And at a time when we no longer hesitate to invite outdoor furniture into the living room, this allows you to twist the decor of the living room, or even the bedroom.
How to adopt the Papillon armchair at home?
The easiest way to integrate the Papillon armchair into your interior is to install it easily in the living room. For a sharp style, you can associate it with a table that will perfectly highlight it.
The AA armchair is particularly stunning with the AO table. This glass coffee table is distinguished by its base reminiscent of the Papillon armchair.
In the reading corner or in a very small living room, opt for the small Trèfle table.
The height of chic is to install the Papillon armchair in the bathroom. Simply select the model that appeals to you from the outdoor range, to be sure that it will withstand the particular conditions of the room perfectly.
The leather or skin AA armchair has a strong character. You can use it to highlight a wasted space – for example to enhance the landing or to create a reading corner under the stairs.
The Papillon armchair has the particularity of being available in a small model specifically designed for children: the BB armchair. In colored cotton or dressed in a crocheted cover, it brightens up the toddler’s room.
If the AA armchair is self-sufficient, it only asks to be accessorized with a cushion or a plaid. Faux fur for a bohemian touch, nomadic print for an ethnic inspiration or sheepskin for a Seventies spirit: anything goes!
The heirs of the Papillon armchair
Like all landmark pieces in the history of design, the Papillon armchair continues to inspire designers.
Tubular steel frame and interchangeable seat: the Lounge Chair by Ferm Living shows a certain closeness to the AA armchair. This indoor/outdoor model is eco-responsible, and the seat is made of recyclable plastic. It is a nice alternative to the Scandinavian armchair in the Nordic living room.
The LAFUMA MOBILIER POP UP armchair harkens back to the origins of the Papillon armchair, since it folds and unfolds – not to go out into the countryside, but to follow you on all your escapades. With its neat look, it is nevertheless happy to install it at home, on the balcony as in the living room.