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The 3107 Chair

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.

At the Fritz Hansen factory in Denmark, a worker inspects the paint finish of a Series 7 chair in front of a wall displaying just some of the wood and color options available.

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. Nearby, human workers inspect each of the over 400,000 chairs made here annually, half of which are Series 7 chairs, with the 3107 model at its forefront.

  • 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 adhesive.

  • 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 milling machine cuts the signature Series 7 silhouette into the molded forms—–though by simply changing which pattern is selected, the machine can also create Jacobsen’s Ant or Lily chairs from the same pieces of molded plywood.

  • 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. Two layers are applied if the customer wants to be able to see the wood grain through the paint, four to five layers for an opaque finish.

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