Danish architect Stine Gam and Italian designer Enrico Fratesi, the founders of Copenhagen-based studio GamFratesi, have an unusual obsession. And it’s one that became the inspiration for arguably their most recognisable piece of furniture: the humble beetle.
There are 300,000 species of beetle (that we know of) currently living on Earth today, adapted to live in incredibly diverse environments. They are nature’s innovators and it is this adaptable quality that fascinated GamFratesi.
‘The perfection, honesty and harmony found in nature can suggest technical resolutions and aesthetic forms,’ say Gam and Fratesi, who reimagined the body of the beetle to create the form of their renowned design for Gubi. Comprising a two-part hard-yet-supple outer shell and a comfortable interior, the basic form of the ‘Beetle’ chair is, like its inspiration, incredibly versatile.
Since its launch 8 years ago, the ‘Beetle’ has found its way into many homes around the world, with fresh iterations – such as lounge chairs, bar stools and a sofa – joining the family alongside the original dining chair. Sometimes these new versions are bespoke, created specifically for individual interiors projects by GamFratesi. It was some of these individual projects that inspired the latest evolution of the ‘Beetle’: the ‘A Quartet of Expressions’ collection.
‘This cohesive edit represents expressions of the chair that we already know and love and that feel very current,’ say the pair, introducing the four luxurious new upholstery options.
There’s ‘Chic Chenille’, a velvety green iteration that evokes the bohemian style of the 1970s, and ‘Beautifully Bouclé’, with its astrakhan-fur-inspired wool fabric. ‘Two-tone Tactility’ offers a combination of bouclé and velvet, both in simple but effective white, to create a play of textures. Then there is ‘Vivid Velvet’, which is inspired by the custom design created for Gam and Fratesi’s own home; a luxurious version covered in beige Italian velvet. Understated, yet effortlessly elegant.
‘We always knew this was a versatile piece of furniture, but it has been really interesting to see just how well these four editions evoke such different moods and ambiences just by deploying different materials, colours and textures,’ say the design duo.
It may not have as many varieties as its namesake just yet, but the popularity of the ‘Beetle’ chair looks unlikely to wane, so watch this space… From £837, gubi.com