Classic Design: The ‘Diamond’ chair

May 3, 2016 / Classics

The chair that’s functional sculpture



The “Diamond” collection by Harry Bertoia for Knoll.

Designed by Italian-born artist, sculptor and furniture designer Harry Bertoia (1915 – 1978), who achieved fame despite creating only one furniture collection in his lifetime – this series of timelessly elegant wire chairs for Knoll.


Inspiration After completing his design studies at Michigan’s Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bertoia stayed on and opened a metalwork shop. He loved to work with the material, and became known for simply picking up wire and shaping it with his bare hands. When Hans and Florence Knoll invited him to design for their brand, he was given free rein to experiment – the result was the landmark ‘Diamond’ chair (1952).


The making of the chair A short film (3 mins) from the official producers, Knoll.


Why we love it The sculptural wired steel shell is formed from a delicate latticework grill, making it perfect for both indoor and outdoor use. ‘They are mainly made of air,’ Bertoia once said. ‘Space passes right through them.’ Bertoia never made another furniture collection: this is his modern masterpiece.


Buy it now £653 for a dining chair from Chaplins

The Diamond chair designed by Harry Bertoia for Knoll

The Diamond chair designed by Harry Bertoia for Knoll


Did you know… That Harry Bertoia spent the latter part of his life creating ambient musical sculptures in his barn in Berto, Pennsylvania. See, and listen, to them in this short video…



And here’s a fabulous archive film from 1965 with more about the man behind the designs…