Frei Otto & Montreal
Frei Otto was chosen by the newly formed Federal Republic of Germany to design the German pavilion at the 1967 Montreal World Exposition. In conjunction with this symbolic, sensational statement for Germany at Expo 67, Frei Otto designed the MONTREAL chair, which he has never been without since. Over four decades, Frei Otto tirelessly honed the construction, design and seating comfort of his iconic chair, which became a permanent feature at his conference table in his personal studio as well as at the dining room table of the Frei Otto family.
Even the unexpected details of the MONTREAL chair that combine pragmatism with aesthetics are impressive.
The delicate, turned chair legs together with the curved and rounded frames give the MONTREAL chair a sense of lightness and openness. The functionally deep and intricately hand-sewn backrest supports your spine and “embraces” your back like a wide belt. This covering stretched over the seats and backrests is a signature feature of the major life’s work of the future Pritzker Prize winner Frei Otto, who created, among other things, the world-renowned roof that stretches over the Olympic Stadium in Munich (1972). The MONTREAL chair was conceived in Steinheim an der Murr, in a small furniture workshop belonging to Carl Fröscher, where, for its production, he was able to count on the active support of the Lucas Schnaidt family of manufacturers with whom he had become friends.
When Frei Otto died in 2015 at the age of 90, the then German Minister for Foreign Affairs and today’s Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, dedicated a high-profile obituary in the newspaper “Der Tagesspiegel” (Berlin) to him, which essentially said: “Frei Otto brought lightness into Germany and the world”. The ingenious MONTREAL chair embodies exactly this sentiment, emitting a dreamlike feeling, and establishes Frei Otto as an unforgettable international visionary genius. The unmistakable MONTREAL chair is at home in every room.