Canadian Design Icon: The Solair Chair

Above: The Solair Chair is a Canadian design classic, originally designed in 1972 by Montreal architects Fabio Fabiano and Michelange Panzini

The Solair Chair became a permanent fixture at every roadside motel along the eastern seaboard but did you know two Canadian industrial designers were responsible this design icon?

Riding the wave of Canadian cool design energy that came out of Expo 67 in Montreal, two local industrial designers Fabio Fabiano and Michelange Panzini came up with the design for the chair in 1972. Both recent graduates, the pair set out to rework the concept of a comfortable yet modern indoor/outdoor chair. They turned to the latest technology of the time:  injection molding plastics and steel framing. The use of a single piece of uv protected molded plastic for the seat ensures the bright colors do not fade out in the hot sun. This is why you can still find some of the early production pieces in pristine condition shining in their original bright colours. Interestingly enough, this long-standing classic was designed in just one weekend to meet a pressing contract deadline.

Not long after production, the chair went on to be a best seller across Canada and throughout the United States; there wasn’t a roadside motel in the 1970s that went without one.  But the chair went on to cross high and low culture divide – appearing at chic west coast hotel poolsides and even a Playboy photo shoot or two. The chair instantly became an iconic fixture of North American culture and is now part of the permanent collection at the Montreal Museum of Fine Art.

You can bring back the mod optimistic vibe of the 70s with your own Solair chair this summer on your patio; the perfect indoor/outdoor chair for the design savvy urban dweller. The Solair continues to be produced and distributed in Saint-Damien, Quebec and is available nationwide at the Hudson Bay Company for only $99.



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