With its mind set on producing a design classic, Spanish outdoor-furniture brand Kettal joined forces with French duo Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for the company’s latest offering: Stampa. The outdoor chair pushes the properties of aluminium, thanks to a cutting-edge technology that transforms sheet metal into a material with an openwork design. Durable yet delicate, the chair has a duality that doesn't stop there. ‘The idea was to make a comfortable, long-lasting chair that couldn’t be copied,’ says Ronan Bouroullec. ‘Stampa had to be both charming and calm.’
With a vote of confidence from Kettal, the brothers discovered the Barcelona brand’s willingness to face new obstacles. Their five-year collaboration involved countless tests and experiments. ‘Our in-house team gave 120 per cent to the development of Stampa,’ says second-generation Kettal director Alex Alorda. ‘Every modification was a challenge that we loved.’ The family-run company’s expertise in aluminium reaches back five decades: ‘My father started working with the material in 1966. It has since become part of our DNA.’
The chair’s unified aesthetic arises from the exploration of material constraints. Consisting of a combination of skilled craftsmanship and sophisticated manufacturing techniques, Stampa involves six procedures. ‘It may not seem like it,’ says Ronan, ‘but the chair is a pressed, punched piece of flat metal, stamped and welded to form a calyx-shaped shell.’ Stampa’s core is held in place by an injection-moulded seat ring that is attached to hydroformed legs. A laser cutter punctures the sheet metal, and matching holes drilled by hand connect the perforated shell to the outer edge of the seat. A clever mix of high and low tech, Stampa’s pierced shell not only helps keep it – and the sitter – cool on warm days, but also makes the chair extremely lightweight.
Both the Bouroullecs and Kettal hope that the chair will gain value with use, stand the test of time, and become a classic. ‘In 20 years, we’d like to find Stampa for sale at flea markets,’ says Ronan. By opting for aluminium over plastic, the brothers aimed to extend the life of the outdoor chair. ‘We wanted to emulate the longevity of repainted cast-iron garden furniture. We grew up in the countryside, and a harmonious landscape is very important to us.’