INSPIRED BY NATURE
FROM NATURE TO NURTURE
FROM BEETLE TO BEETLE
Plants and animals have adapted over millennia to respond to evolutionary niches and perhaps none more so than the humble beetle. 300,000 species live across the globe in almost every environment on land or in water. Their sheer diversity and adaptability have seen them inform and inspire everything from ancient cultural myths to twentieth-century cars and British pop bands.
The discipline of biomimicry proposes that the ingenuity of nature can be translated into contemporary product and furniture design, in order to seek smarter solutions that are good for our mental and physical health as well as the planet.
“The perfection, honesty and harmony found in nature can suggest technical resolutions and aesthetic forms. By mimicking the finer details of nature with form, function, proportion or pattern, we can re-create biophilic human connections and healthy responses to the natural environment.”
For the Beetle Chair, GamFratesi became captivated by the idea of translating the form of a beetle into a product for the home. The pair drew on the form and function of an archetypal beetle to create an iconic and ergonomic chair with a hard, yet supple, two-part outer shell with a comfortable inner surface
MICROMOVEMENTS FOR MAXIMUM COMFORT
The structure of a beetle’s articulated shell comprises solid plates connected by flexible sutures, which allow the beetle to move, while maintaining protection and form. Echoing the structure of the beetle’s exoskeleton, the Beetle Chair’s two-part shell is made from one continuous curve, engineered to enable micromovements that respond to the sitter, ensuring ergonomic performance while maintaining a strong silhouette.
“It looks solid and impenetrable and yet, in places, it is sinuous and flexible, and this seeming contradiction is what enables it to move freely. All these elements are linked and work together in a fascinating way. One of the many reasons we studied beetles was their ability to carry out technical movements while keeping their parts rigid and defined.”
The Beetle can be customized in any one of a vast array of fabrics and materials, further echoing the versatility of its insect namesake. Similarly, bases are available in a range of carefully considered finishes, adding further functionality and versatile aesthetics. The collection doesn’t quite match the 300.000 species of beetles found in nature, but there’s enough to ensure the perfect fit.
“The kind and protective anatomy of the beetle fascinated us. The Beetle’s outline is so harmonious; we immediately felt the desire to reinterpret it.”
“The Beetle Chair was one of the most complex projects we had ever undertaken. It is still the most significant piece for us. It has marked our careers and our design language. It has been with us for almost 10 years, but still manages to charm us with its design – a beautiful line that flows harmoniously through space.”
In 2013, GUBI and GamFratesi introduced the Beetle Chair to the world, and a modern design classic was born.