Post 2: Harry Bertoia

Harry Bertoia

After being a Metal Worker and Jewellery Designer, he went to work for Ray and Charles Eames until the war ended. In 1950 he moved to Pennsylvania and established his studio, where he worked with Hans and Florence Knoll .   This is where he designed five wire pieces that became known as the Bertoia Collection for Knoll. Amongst the pieces was the famous “Diamond Chair” a fluid, sculptural form made from a molded latticework of welded steel.


Bertoia’s said, “If you look at these chairs, they are mainly made of air, like sculpture. Space passes right through them.”

They were produced with varying degrees of upholstery over their light grid-work, and they were handmade as the could find no appropriate method of Mass Production. However, the chair edge utilized two thin wires welded on either side of the mesh seat. This design had been granted a patent to the Eames for the wire chair produced by Herman Miller, who eventually won and Bertoia & Knoll redesigned the seat edge, using a thicker, single wire, and grinding down the edge of the seat wires at a smooth angle – the same way the chairs are produced today. Nonetheless, the commercial success enjoyed by Bertoia’s diamond chair was immediate.

POST73_6DiamondChair_HarryBertoia bertoia_bar_stool


One thought on “Post 2: Harry Bertoia

  1. Thank you. You have the history correct, which many do not! One more tidbit is that while Bertoia worked with Eames, it was Bertoia who came up with the wire design. Although not discussed, Bertoia thought that his ideas went with him when he left, but, oops, it was not the case. It all worked out and we have lots of wire chairs to choose from today! Celia Bertoia

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