Why This Bugatti Chair Is Actually Important

It’s more than just a lame licensing deal. 

byMax Prince|
Bugatti News photo

We know Bugatti in its modern incarnation, the German-owned supercar firm behind the Veyron and Chiron. Monsters with sixteen-cylinder engines, four-figure horsepower ratings, and top speeds on pace with a Lancair VI. But Ettore Bugatti’s family, the original founders, they weren’t automotive engineers. His grandfather, Giovanni Luigi, was an architect; his brother, Rembrandt, a renowned bronze sculptor; his uncle, Giovanni Segantini, a landscape painter. Artists, all of them. And Carlo Bugatti, the patriarch, he made jewelry and furniture.

Early twentieth century armchairs by Carlo Bugatti. , DeAgostini/Getty

So when the Bugatti Home Collection rolled out at Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan, it wasn’t without precedent. This new line is the result of a partnership with Luxury Living Group, the same outfit behind Fendi furniture and the Hôtel Ritz decor. What’s so cool about the Bugatti Home Collection? Everything in it is meant to recall the company’s finest designs. 

Bugatti/Luxury Living

That's the Royale sofa, inspired by the 1927 Type 41, the luxury behemoth built to throw shade at Rolls-Royce. There’s also the art deco Atlantic coffee table, a carbon fiber and metal structure, the top of which has an ultraviolet blueprint of the landmark 1936 Type 57SC. But the crown jewel of the collection is this, the reimagined Cobra chair:

Bugatti/Luxury Living

The original 1902 Cobra, designed by Carlo Bugatti, is a masterpiece. Its slick, single-piece coil embodies Art Nouveau, with an original twist: A novel gap between the seat platform and chair back, which allowed a man’s coattails to fall through without bunching. Clever and exoitc, it became Carlo’s trademark piece. The redesigned Cobra is as much science as art, cognac leather over blue carbon fiber, a different animal entirely from the African-inspired, wood-and-copper source material. Does it do the original justice? Debatable. But, nearly 120 years later, it’s still got Carlo’s ingenious flow and coattail segment. If nothing else, a fine nod to history, and the leaders of one of Europe’s finest families.