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.
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.”