The cantilever chair was created by the Dutch designer Mart Stam. Stam’s original designs were made without consideration for cost constraints. His shapely wooden demonstrators were to be used as display pieces in furniture stores that sold high-end modern pieces to wealthy clientele.
When demand for his designs grew, he could not afford to produce them himself and licensed them to Vitra, who produces them to this day. It is one of the most well known chairs in design history.
Mart Stam is credited with developing the first cantilevered chair. A chair devoid of back legs that relies solely on the strength of its tubular steel front legs.
Although the cantilever chair was first patented and commercially produced by Finnish architect and designer Mart Stam (1921-2000), it is considered a modern design icon.
Stam’s legacy as an architect includes more than 500 projects, with some of the highlights including housing, civic centers, office buildings and churches. He designed one of his iconic pieces – the cantilever chair – in 1950 for Yrjö Kukkapuro before he left Finland for Paris in 1951 to do postgraduate studies at École des Beaux-Arts there. It took two years before the chair finally went into production due to resistance from manufacturers unwilling to invest in this type of difficult construction technique.