Falcon Chair by Sigurd Resell & Vatne Lenestolfabrikk

History of the Falcon Chair by Sigurd Resell
History of the Falcon Chair by Sigurd Resell

The Fabulous Falcon Chair

When designer Sigurd Resell’s Falcon Chair first rolled off the production line and into the shops, Norway had never seen sales quite like it.

Scandinavia’s answer to the Chair, with its luxurious plump leather cushions lining a canvas sling-seat hooked to a metal frame and hovering over a chrome splay base, was the first chair buyers put in their shop windows.

Knut and Ivar Saeter had worried that their bigger, brighter factory in Vatne might not be able to sustain itself as orders had been slow in the two years since it was built in 1969.

But once Resell was installed as a designer everything changed. Norwegians were quick to take his extraordinary looking Falcon Chair into their hearts and sales at Vatne spiralled.

Sigurd Resell kicked off his career after Niels Vodder, the Danish master carpenter behind many of Finn Juhl’s finest pieces, praised one of the young designer’s drawings in a competition.

A prototype of what would become the SR600 was made from the drawing a few years later and, in 1958, the chair won an award at the Copenhagen Cabinetmakers’ Guild Exhibition.

Resell’s Falcon Chairs were most commonly sold as a pair, and often with a matching glass and chrome and steel legged table.

There was also a low, rectangular wood-topped coffee table with chrome and steel legs, but when both high and low-backed models proved too expensive for export because of their metal frames, the steel was exchanged for lightweight laminated wood, causing yet another spike in sales from 1974. 

Kåre Naustdal, who sold Vatne furniture in the United States through Norvud, said that it would not be unusual in the course of a morning to receive a handful of orders for Falcons by the container-load from his American clients.

The chair’s popularity led to it being copied around the world. Vatne took one Danish manufacturer to court,they had a version of the design with the name Superstar. Vatne won.

Written by Simon
I am a published writer, journalist and photo-journalist. I have an MA in Creative Writing and Journalism from the University of Wales and my journalism has been published in a number of UK national newspapers including 'the Observer'. I have life long interest in creative design, art and function and this website is an exploration of that in all its forms and guises.