Published at Wednesday, April 04th, 2018 - 08:42:47 AM. Side-Chair. By Ernest Barnier.
Chairs are functional by their very nature, but in the hands of a master designer, they can transcend to the realm of art as well. The Bertoia Chair is a prime example. Harry Bertoia was an Italian designer whose early efforts in the 1950's mid century design movement has spawned a line of furniture that remains popular today.
In the last few years as these countries have one by one joined the European Union, the costs of making these very labour intensive chairs has increased considerably for these factories, giving them no alternative but to increase their prices. This has led to some UK banqueting furniture suppliers looking to factories in China and Malaysia to produce copies of these chairs but without the many years of experience of the traditional manufacturers, the quality can be very variable. Often, where the European factories would use steam bending to shape the elegant curved forms of the banquet chair, the Chinese and Malaysian manufacturers use simpler wood joining methods, for example finger jointing or even butt jointing, methods which are not nearly as strong as the steam bending process which produces the part without affecting the strength or integrity of the wood. Therefore purchasing these cheaper chairs can often be a false economy and can end in very early replacement of an expensive investment.
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