The Bugatti Chair

Bugatti, Molsheim

Carlo Bugatti lived in Brescia in northern Italy where he designed furniture. His two sons, Ettore and Rembrandt became celebrated designers in their own right. Ettore of course became famous for his racing and sports cars while Rembrandt achieved renown for his sculptures of animals. In early July, 1939 Louis Klemantaski, accompanied by his then girlfriend and two other friends, attended the French Grand Prix at Reims and then went on to visit the Bugatti factory at Molsheim in Alsace.

Louis Klemantaski described their visit to Bugatti in his autobiography Klemantaski Himself, “After lunch we went to the works where we were shown round by the works manager’s deputy. Soon after we had started our tour, the great man [Ettore Bugatti] himself appeared and took over, my French coming in handy. As we were crossing from one workshop to another, I spied standing on a strip of grass something which must have been a chair made entirely of straight planks of wood.  I asked Monsieur, ‘What on earth is that?’ or words to that effect but more politely put, to which he replied, ‘I know that it looks uncomfortable, but go and sit in it and you will be convinced. It’s my own design.’ Which I did and I was convinced. As we moved off, I turned round and took a shot of it. I wish now I had taken one with him sitting in it, but I was too much in awe of him to ask and he was soon called away.”

Some 50 years later when visiting Mr. Klemantaski, I saw a reproduction of the Bugatti Chair which he had had constructed by a local carpenter based on this photograph. Like Mr. Klemantaski, I sat in it and was convinced.

Photo by Louis Klemantaski ©The Klemantaski Collection – http://www.klemcoll.com

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4 comments

  1. Jack Brewer · · Reply

    Do you have pictures of your reproduction that you can post or email? I’d love to see more detail, proportions, etc.

    Thank you.

    Like

  2. Parker Hall · · Reply

    Great shot. I have a parallel story. Sometime in the past Jerry McDermott did a short bit about Louis Klemantaski in which he had a photo of Mr. Klemantaski sitting in his Bugatti chair. I wrote to Jerry asking for the photo or more information. He had none. A few years later Greg Jones and I were riding around in England and Greg asked me if I wouldn’t mind if we stopped and visited an old friend of his. That was Uvi Uccer (SP). So we did stop in to see him and had a wonderful lunch and visit to see all of his Bugatti’s. On the way back to the house we passed a beautiful closed-in garden and WOW there were a group of the Bugatti chairs. So when we got home we rounded up more photos and built one. It is a little complicated, because of all of the angles but Mike Foster did a beautiful job of it. If you look up Ettori Bugatti there are a couple of photos of him sitting in the chair..Perhaps photos from Mr. Klemantaski? Loved the article and will send one to Mike and Greg.

    Best Wishes, See you at Amelia

    Parker Hall

    Like

  3. Hi Parker,
    If you have access the dimensions could you please post them, or a diagram. Others are asking about this.
    Peter

    Like

  4. Rietveld made a similar chair..!
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_and_Blue_Chair

    Like

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