The Butaque Chair, by Clara Porset

It has been said that the Butaque Chair was a hybrid created in the 16th century, influenced by the Spanish X-frame chairs together with the pre-Columbian ritual little seats called duhos. Nevertheless, the Butaque Chair is widely known currently thanks to the 20th century Cuban designer Clara Porset (1895-1981).

After moving to Mexico in 1935, Porset decided to re-elaborate the butaque basing on her ideas of modern design and craft tradition in order to provide the country with a prevailing identity in the current world. After different formal analysis and ergonomic studies, she created a new butaque in which curved legs, seat and back were made from small boards very easily joined. Moreover, due to her intention of placing value on Mexican craftspeople, she decided to use different materials for the seats such as leather, upholsteries with different patterns or materials like ixtle. The use of rustic and natural materials in her furniture was narrowly linked to the interest in creating a psychological affinity between Mexican people and furniture, thereby generating a relation among design, culture and society. Finally, as a result of her research, she was able to develop the butaque in diverse proportions, finishes and fabrics.

Clara Porset designed a functional chair which turns out to be a strong aesthetic proposal with national-identity features, since design and architecture were essential to the construction of new ideas for Mexico’s true cultural identity.

Author: Noelia Fernández García

Photo: Creative Commons