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Chair - Barbarian chair

Barbarian chair

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Paris (designed)
    Paris (manufactured)

  • Date:

    1981 (designed)
    1994 (manufactured)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Garouste, Elizabeth, born 1949 (designer)
    Bonetti, Mattia, born 1953 (designer)
    Neotu (manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Wrought iron, hide, leather

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Garouste and Bonetti did not radically re-think the forms and uses of furniture, but re-styled it for a knowing and urbane audience, in a period dominated by post-modernist irony and symbolism. This attitude was a conscious rejection of modernist functionalism. They turned instead to historical styles for inspiration, or imaginatively reconstructed ancient styles, as with the 'Barbarian' range of chairs, sconces, lamps and tables.

Designed in 1981, this furniture was made from coarse wrought iron, and for this chair an animal hide was laced into the frame as upholstery. Its intention is to evoke primitive ways of living, yet it is anything but primitive, and relies on a sophisticated understanding of design and art history for its effect. The wrought iron consciously suggests the mid-twentieth century furniture of Diego Giacometti, while the form of the chair is relatively conventional.

Physical description

Chair constructed of wrought iron with an animal hide attached by leather lacing to form the seat and back

Place of Origin

Paris (designed)
Paris (manufactured)


1981 (designed)
1994 (manufactured)


Garouste, Elizabeth, born 1949 (designer)
Bonetti, Mattia, born 1953 (designer)
Neotu (manufacturer)

Materials and Techniques

Wrought iron, hide, leather


Height: 115 cm, Width: 57 cm, Depth: 52 cm, Height: 42 cm seat

Descriptive line

'Barbarian' chair, designed by Garouste and Bonetti, 1981, manufactured by Neotu, Paris, 1994, wrought iron, animal hide, leather straps

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Aveline, M. (ed.), 'Elizabeth Garouste et Mattia Bonetti', Paris, 1990, pp.60-64
Buck, A. and Vogt, M.: 'Designer Monographs 7: Garouste & Bonetti', Frankfurt-am-Main, 1996, p.105
Williams, G, 'The Furniture Machine, furniture since 1990', p.22-3

Labels and date

Designed by Elizabeth Garouste (French, born 1949) and Mattia Bonetti (Italian, born 1953), 1981
Made by Neotu, Paris, France, 1993
Wrought iron, hide, leather

Garouste and Bonetti first broke from the limitations of High-Tech and the International Style in the early 1980s, finding inspiration in primitivism, travel, and fairy tales. Perhaps their most famous commission has been the interior for the Paris Salon of Christian Lacroix, in 1987. [pre March 2001]


Wrought iron; Hide; Leather




Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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