One of the most elegant contemporary chairs in massive wood is Branca, by London design studio Industrial Facility, designed for the Italian furniture company Mattiazzi. Industrial Facility is lead by designers Sam Hecht and Kim Colin, and focuses on furniture, lighting, and product design.
The idea behind this delicate-looking chair is to have only the most necessary elements. Simple yet elegant lines meet as a tree’s branches to create the exposed structural chassis. By not only designing the outlines but also what graphic designers call the negative space – the emptiness between those lines – the seat seems to float in between a gentle frame made up of legs, armrests, and backrests that flow into each other.
“Branca is inspired by wooden branches that turn, twist, meet, and branch off. And just like wooden branches on a tree, Branca becomes a chair that is familiar to the eye. We accept that branches support the joints of twigs and leaves at different points that may seem random but are in fact intentional,” Hecht said. “The joints are seen as but a part of the seamless nature of the chair and its simple outline belies the complexity of production.”
Branca has to hold all of the functional attributes we expect in a chair – to be comfortable, to have armrests, to fit under a table, to be light enough to carry, and to stack for easy shipping.
By combining highly complex robot machinery (eight-axis CNC-milling is one of Mattiazzi’s areas of expertise) with traditional hand finishing and shaping in one factory, this chair shows what a combination of skills can achieve when pushed to the limits by one of the UK’s most innovative design studios. Branca won several prizes, including the prestigious Furniture Award from the London Design Museum, and the collection also includes a barstool, a low stool, and a table. This chair will never shout for attention, but its timeless look and quality craftsmanship make it a standout.
About Industrial Facility
Industrial Facility is a renowned design studio that was founded in 2002. It is known for making industrial design with a nod toward the world around us, by investigating functionality and form to their fullest. Their range of products and clients is incredibly wide, including conceptual hairdryers for the magazine Wallpaper, minimalistic pianos for Yamaha, playful wooden toys for Muji, multifunctional office accessories for Herman Miller, and pendant lights for Established & Sons.
In 1978, Italian brothers Nevio and Fabiano Mattiazzi began their obsession with wooden furniture production. For 30 years they produced furniture rather anonymously for some of the greatest Italian brands, and recently started to collaborate with world designers to expose their expertise to a wider audience. Over the years they have kept their expertise and quality sharp by continually investing in the latest machinery, and by maintaining a craftsman’s attitude. Mattiazzi collaborates with other renowned designers such as Konstantin Grcic, brothers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, and Jasper Morrison.
The Branca chair is available for sale in the U.S. through Herman Miller.