Is Gubi’s Beetle Chair the Chair of Our Time?

There have been many attempts to create the perfect modern chair. The best of them, the Barcelona Lounge Chairs or Arne Jacobsen’s Series 7, manage to capture a particular mood, operating as a reflection of the times in which they were designed. It’s a task that never seems finished because we each have such an intimate connection with being seated. We spend most of our lives sitting down, we fight for the best spot on the sofa and hand down designer chairs to our children. One explanation is that a chair is never merely a place to perch; it’s a place to reflect, or, as Charles Eames once said, a piece of architecture that you can hold in your hands.

So what about now? In the era of Hygge and Lagom, which of the gorgeous designer chairs on the market today, best meet our need for cocooning comfort and 21st century style? If Instagram, the oracle of our digital age is to be believed, there is one clear winner.


Gubi’s Beetle Chair was first conceived in 2013, the result of years of experimentation by husband and wife design duo, GamFratesi. Inspired by the intriguing anatomy of its namesake, it has inspired a velvet revolution that shows no sign of waning.

CHAPLINS GamFratesi Gubi Beetle Chair Design

But first, a quick biology recap. Beetles do not have an internal skeleton. Instead, they are given shape and support by their large shell which functions as a protective exoskeleton. Tiny little legs, each of which works overtime to provide a speedy getaway when needed, support this curvaceous cocoon, a feat that seems to defy all of the laws of physics.

CHAPLINS GamFratesi Gubi Beetle Chair Design 2

The sculpted curves of the Beetle Chair’s gorgeous shell and tapered legs immortalise this unusual relationship, creating a charming modern chair that is understated yet somehow still luxurious.

Contrast, as essential in the natural world as in design, is key to the chair’s success. The visually strong and sculpted shell is offset by the softness of its lush velvet upholstery. Contrasting piping mimics the sutures of a beetle’s segmented body, outlining the two ever so slightly unbalanced shells. Clean, Scandinavian lines are met by Italian warmth, evident in the luxurious upholstery and gold painted legs, a testament to GamFratesi’s respective heritages.


If this contemporary chair conjures up serious feelings of old-school glamour it’s because this is somewhat the attitude of the couple that created it. GamFratesi are self-confessed social media recluses, contactable only via email, each of which they attend to personally. Their commitment to being present in the moment translates to a distinct sense of clarity, a trait that is visually evident in all of their designs. Their overarching aim? To create modern furniture that is “honest, humble and natural”.


And yet the Beetle Collection (now expanded to include a barstool, sofa, ottoman, lounge chair and office chair) is equally at home in an exclusive restaurant as in a minimalist loft in Reykjavik.

CHAPLINS GamFratesi Gubi Beetle Chair 4

Available in every imaginable hue, it can be dressed up or down, striking whether as a matching set or mixed with other modern furniture classics. Opt for wooden legs or a leather seat, luxe Dedar velvet or stripped back and unupholstered. It’s one of those rare pieces that acquires new beauty in every local. In Paris’ Maison du Danemark, the Beetle Chair is art deco chic. In Denmark’s The Standard it is crisp, clean and modern, the backbone of a many a successful business brunch.


All of which leaves design lovers with one burning question. Is the Beetle Chair the defining chair of our time? Or will GamFratesi’s new chair (due to be launched at this years Salone del Milano) surpass the mighty Beetle? Get in touch with us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook to let us know your thoughts.

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