Steelwood Chair: Fitting Wood

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.”

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.

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.”

The fully assembled Steelwood chair by Magis. One of the goals of the design and of the chosen materials was to produce a chair that, at the end of its life, could be broken down into its separate materials and recycled.

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