The 3107 Chair

Originally published in 

It takes nine sheets of veneer, two layers of cotton backing, up to five coats of paint, and 11 days to make a 3107 chair. We take you to the floor of Fritz Hansen's stackable-chair factory to show you how it's done.

The most famous photo of Arne Jacobsen’s 3107 chair isn’t even of a real 3107. The iconic image, taken by Lewis Morley in 1963, depicts British knockout Christine Keeler naked astride a knockoff. The provocative pic propelled the molded-plywood chair to international fame, and sales—which had inched forward at a snail’s pace after the chair’s 1955 release—skyrocketed. Today, the company has sold nearly seven million Series 7 chairs, including the 3107, the dining-height model, making it Danish furniture manufacturer Fritz Hansen’s best-selling family of seats.

The 3107 Chair: Prep the Veneer

In the idyllic Danish countryside, 15 miles northwest of Copenhagen, autonomous robots transport pallets of veneer down the aisles of Fritz Hansen’s 161,000-square-foot chair factory.

The 3107 Chair: Glue and Mold

A worker then places single layers of inner veneer on a conveyor belt that sends them through what looks like a doughnut-glazing machine, coating both sides of the veneer with a white liquid…

The 3107 Chair: Cut and Sand

Once the plywood has hardened, a worker wearing sound-suppressing earmuffs places the pieces, three at a time, into the factory’s computer numerically controlled (CNC) machine.

The 3107 Chair: Paint and Ship

The discs also serve as hooks for hanging the chairs upside down on a conveyor belt that leads them to a glassed-in room. There, a robotic arm paints the curved surfaces with polyurethane paint.

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