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Steelwood Chair: Fitting Wood

Four straight legs and a round seat are CNC-milled out of solid beech, bolt holes and all, ready for fixing to the punched and painted steel. As the chair began production in early 2008, the designers were still making final tweaks to bolt fittings, which connect the legs to the back.

magis steelwood chair assembly
Once the stamped steel frame is painted and matched with four wooden legs and a seat, assembly is a quick and clean job thanks to the design, which puts the entire structural burden on the lightweight backrest.

One end is square, and the other round—the rounded end tightens against the square one, held in place by its corners. “The bolts ended up a little too short, because the wood and the metal react differently to the tension,” Bouroullec explains. Solid wood continually expands and contracts, affecting a tiny percentage of its thickness. Even steel moves a miniscule amount. “It’s a question of a half a millimeter. Even though it’s an industrial product, the materials move and morph.”

With the legs and seat fixed in place, the chair is complete—–likely to last for decades and easy to disassemble into its material components. “I think it’s nice to have this kind of material,” says Bouroullec. “It’s not made out of plastic. It will age well—even if the paint chips, broken paint on metal can actually look quite nice. We really like this chair, because it’s kind of stable and democratic.”

  • <h2><a href="">The Steelwood Chair</a></h2><p></p>Magis' Steelwood chair, designed by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, begins its life as a sheet of steel in an Italian factory. <p></p><p></p>Featured in the <a

    Steelwood Chair

    Magis—The Steelwood chair from Magis is a product of experience—the suppliers who punch the sheet metal for the back, which adroitly supports four legs and a beech wood seat, are among Italy’s most skilled metalworkers. Dwell talked with the manufacturers and the designers, Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, and learned, among other things, that the chair is designed for easy disassembly. The two materials—metal and wood—can be separated by undoing a few screws and recycled according to type.

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