Landi chair, Hans Coray (Swiss, 1906 – 1991), Switzerland, 1939.Gift of Harry C. Sigman, 2013-21-34

A chair for all seasons

The Landi chair, created by the self-taught designer Hans Coray, was one of the first highly successful designs for seating furniture using sheet aluminum, a relatively new material in the 1930s. Introduced in Zurich, at the 1939 Swiss National Exhibition (Schweizerische Landesaustellung, nicknamed “Landi”), the chair was the official seating for the exhibition grounds. Aluminum was the chosen material not only for its associations with modern industry and innovation, but for its status as one of Switzerland’s most important exports. The Landi’s seat and back are made of a single aluminum sheet, molded into shape and perforated with circular holes. The arm-and-leg elements are each formed of a single, thin, bent aluminum strip. The chair was probably influenced by seats and structural elements designed for aircraft, an area in which aluminum was already used extensively by the late 1930s. The Landi’s aluminum body is extremely light weight at about six pounds, weather resistant, portable, stackable, and practical for both indoor and outdoor use. The perforations in the metal not only lighten the chair, they allow rain or melting snow to drain through.

The chair has been in continuous production since 1939. In 1962 the manufacturer changed the number and arrangement of the perforations, reducing the rows from 13 to 10, and the number of holes from 91 to 60. This facilitated mass production rather than individual processing, made the seat less springy, and reduced a tendency for cracking in the curve where the back transitions into the seat.  In 1971, the Italian firm Zanotta S.p.A. began marketing the chair as the “2070 Spartana.”  This example is from the pre-1962 Blattmann production showing the original number of perforations.

Museum Number: 
2013-21-34