Skip to content

Butterfly Stool


Sori Yanagi
The Famous ButterFly Stool

Butterfly Stool


Sori Yanagi
The ButterFly stool front view
Embodying the graceful design of a butterfly’s wings, or at another angle resembling a whale taking a glorious dive into the ocean, the Butterfly Chair is a classic design icon that masterfully marries Eastern forms with the plywood molding technique developed in the West. The design is strikingly simple – two identical pieces of bent plywood are fitted together with a single metal rod. The design grew out of Yanagi’s great respect for Japan’s native artisanal traditions, paired with an appreciation for modern western industrial design. This combination propelled Yanagi to become one of the most significant Japanese designers of the post-war era. Yanagi’s design philosophy was that one does not produce a product by designing it, but that the process of creating a product generates the design. An object of timeless beauty.

“I try to create things that we human beings feel are useful in our daily lives. During the process, beauty is born naturally.”

Sori Yanagi
The ButterFly stool front view

Yanagi’s Butterfly Chair won the gold medal at the Milan Triennial in 1957 and is part of the permanent collections of the MOMA, Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Louvre museum. 

In 2018 the Japan Design Committee organized an exhibition to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Butterfly Chair. This exhibition was held at the Matsuya Department Store, where Yanagi had presented the chair for the first time in 1956. 


Share This Product

Simple Comfort

The gentle curves of two inverted L-shaped sections of smooth molded plywood create a deceptively simple and elegant stool. The seating is comfortable thanks to the effortless slope of the superior quality shaped wood. Used as a side table, a stool or a stand-alone piece of design, it is as beautiful as it is comfortable, regardless of the purpose.

Quality and Craftsmanship
The Butterfly Chair is made of high precision plywood that guarantees quality and strength. The three-dimensional bent shape increases the natural strength properties of the wood. The grain on the left and right-hand sections of the stool match each other perfectly. A metal rod between the legs of the chair provides sturdy support and durability. The Butterfly chair combines absolute simplicity of design with exceptional quality.
“The fundamental problem is that many products are created to be sold, not used”
Sori Yanagi
Product Literature
The Butterfly Chair is quite distinctively Eastern in form, but uses the advantages of the plywood molding technique made famous by Western designers such as Ray and Charles Eames. To ensure strength, only the finest maple or rosewood is used for the production of the Butterfly chair. Two identical, curving and inverted L-shaped sections each form one leg and one half of the seat. A metal rod fits midway between the legs, serving as a stretcher and holding the chair together. Metal is tough-wearing, ensuring the product’s longevity. The plywood is made of seven sheets of wood 1mm in thickness, layered together to create a strong and aesthetically pleasing product. The use of plywood has several advantages: increased stability, durability, high impact resistance, as well as resistance to warping, twisting and cracking. The nuts and bolts used to secure the chair are made from steel. At the feet, the plywood is shaped and bent so that it touches the floor at each corner like four feet, giving the stool stability and absorbing the weight of the individual. The edges of the feet are gently curved above the floor, so that the stool seems to float and there are no hard angles anywhere on the stool. Our reproduction stays true to the original specifications of the design.
Product Materials

Frame: Molded plywood with a lacquer finish  

Rod & Fittings: Stainless steel 

Product Dimensions

Height: 39 cm 

Width: 42 cm 

Carrying weight: 120kg 

Weight as shipped: 4 kg 

Care Instructions

Wood veneer:  Wipe dry with a dry, soft cloth in the direction of the wood grain. Clean the surface periodically with a soft cloth dampened with a quality cleaner formulated for wood furniture. Liquid spills should be immediately dabbed dry and wiped off. Make sure that your wood veneer furniture is not positioned close to heat sources, so that it does not dry out and become brittle. We recommend that wood veneer products should not be exposed to intense sunlight for prolonged periods of time as ultra-violet rays may eventually damage the finish.  

Do not use an abrasive material on the wood veneer.   

Metal Do not use an abrasive material on the metal. Clean the item with a mild detergent and water. Dilute in the mild detergent in water so it is not too harsh on the metal. You can dip a soft-bristled toothbrush in the solution or a non-abrasive pad and use it to scrub off any residue or dirt on the item. Scrub the item with a soft toothbrush or a non-abrasive pad. Dry any residual moisture with a soft, dry cloth. 

Receive the latest news

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Get notified about our latest listings, deals and advice