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