Swiss office furniture brand Giroflex is celebrating its 150th anniversary with the launch of an unusual wooden office chair at Salone del Mobile 2022, in collaboration with Karimoku New Standard. Lausanne-based studio Big-Game has delved into the brand’s archive in search of inspiration, finding a treasure trove of turn-of-the-century bentwood designs, shaped for optimal comfort and clearly built to last. 

‘Whenever we find a vintage Giroflex wooden chair in a second-hand shop, we’re amazed by how comfortable it still is. This is a great lesson from the past. People would keep these chairs throughout their careers, for all their lives,’ say the designers. Their contemporary version, which is perfectly balanced with tilt points under both the seat and the backrest that allow the chair to adapt to the weight and movements of its user, aims to reflect the best of Swiss design – sturdy, understated and of the highest quality.

giroflex adverts

It was built with the help of Japan’s Karimoku New Standard using sustainable timber from low-diameter oak trees in Northern Japan – trees that would otherwise have been discarded or pulped to make paper.

Transported to Karimoku New Standard’s workshops in Aichi Prefecture, the timber is then crafted with state-of-the-art woodworking machines and meticulously hand-finished to fashion the chair’s backrest, seat, arms and foot base.

These are held in place by a flexible steel structure – incredibly, the only plastic in this office chair is the castors – and synchro mechanism cleverly designed to fit under the seat.

‘We wanted a wooden chair with a very contemporary sensation of balance and dynamism to it,’ explains Big-Game. ‘Using the sitter’s bodyweight to create the balance, this movement naturally accommodates different body positions throughout the day. The experience can be very surprising, as first-time users expect to sit on a rigid wooden chair and don’t expect the mechanisms, the softly articulated seat and backrest, to accommodate their posture.’

As well as a natural oak version, the limited-edition ‘Giroflex 150’ office chair is available in a range of stained finishes, including moss green and indigo blue. It is on show during Salone at Milan’s Assab One gallery. §