Dezeen Magazine

Bouroullec brothers design low-cost Élémentaire chair for Hay

Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec have designed a range of minimal chairs for Danish brand Hay, which they liken to being as simple and inexpensive as a "white T-shirt or blue jeans".

Unsatisfied with plastic chairs currently on the market, the French brothers set out to design an alternative that wouldn't look like its existing counterparts.

"The world is full of plastic chairs with the wrong colours and shapes," said Ronan Bouroullec. "We can see it in a lot of beautiful cities in Europe, for example. A nice street with an awful terrace full of pink or light green chairs that totally spoil the place,"

The duo wanted to create a simple chair for everyday use that can be bought at an affordable price, while still being as beautiful as possible. "Something like a white T-shirt," Ronan told Dezeen.

"People have no problem buying expensive trainers, but they still don't want to buy expensive furniture," he said. "We worked to do it at a low-cost. It's like a white T-shirt or blue jeans, it's a rough chair that you can use everywhere," he continued.

Launched at Milan design week, the chairs featured in an exhibition by HaySonos and WeWork, where contemporary furniture and products were juxtaposed against the ornate details of the historic Palazzo Clerici building.

The Bouroullec brothers designed the chair to be robust enough to be a long-lasting object, while still appearing delicate with its "elementary" aesthetic. According to Ronan, it will cost around €80 (approximately £70).

"An elementary chair – simple like pasta, but if it is perfectly cooked it could be extremely good," said Ronan.

The Élémentaire chair was born from the aluminium Hole chair that the two Bouroullec brothers designed for Italian furniture brand Cappellini in 1999 – a personal favourite of Rolf Hay.

There are no visible joins in the structure, which is made using the cheap material of polypropylene. According to the designers, this gives the chair "a certain harmony and calmness."

"We wanted to use the most efficient way to mass-produce something, and at the same time to create the most beautiful chair, but beautiful in terms of being extremely well-designed," said Ronan.

"Not too loud, not too shy. Just exactly balanced. A chair that could work in a lot of different contexts," he added.

The Élémentaire chair was showcased at this year's Milan design week, which took place from 17 to 22 April. The pieces were exhibited alongside works by GamFratesiShane Schneck and Stefan Diez.

Also dotted throughout the exhibition were the colourful speakers launched by Hay and Sonos earlier this month.