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Of Butterflies and Ants

2015 marks the 60th anniversary of the creation of Arne Jacobsen’s now world-renowned Butterfly chair. Producer Fritz Hansen honours the butterfly with two festive editions: a stout male with a blue shell and brown legs, and an elegant female shrouded in soft pink on gilt legs. A cheerful party crowd welcomes the lovers of butterflies and ants.

Equally light as a feather is the project Danish butterflies of wood. In 2013, students and alumni from the Interior & Design Thomas More University College Mechelen went to work on the Butterflies. Seat shells discarded at the factory were reworked into fresh makeovers and other types of critters. Nice to see these ‘fallen butterflies’ fluttering towards a new spring.

The Ant chairs by Arne Jacobsen also claim their rightful place among the multitude of butterflies. However, the colourful aspect of the Copy Right installation (2006) by Danish artist collective Superflex is not without its sting. A handsaw was used to modify the seat shells of eighty colourful ants to make them look more like the original model. The mass-produced heredities of the 1953 design once again become unique creations. Genially yet thoughtfully, Superflex raises questions regarding the preservation of authenticity and the right to copy/deform.