Day 58/365 of Steel – Maarten van Severen

Maarten van Severen (born 5 June 1956 in Antwerp) was a famous Belgian furniture designer and interior architect. In this post, I will limit myself to one iconic design with which Van Severen achieved international success: the .03 chair.

A Sketch of The .03 Chair
Fig 1: A Sketch of The .03 Chair
Photo: Wasily 

This emblematic chair, with its pure lines and sober aesthetics, has a long design history. Between the original idea and the release of the model by Vitra was more than 10 years. This period of trial and error began with the first prototype, Chair N°I, in steel and leather, followed by CN° II, a model with a fluid line from the front legs to the seat and back, supported by two back legs, first with a plywood frame, which did not work, then in aluminium with a polyester seat.

Chair 0.3 Vitra by Maarten Van Severen in the Museum Langen Foundation at Insel Hombroich in Neuss, Germany
Fig 2: Chair 0.3 Vitra by Maarten Van Severen in the Museum Langen Foundation at Insel Hombroich in Neuss, Germany
Photo: Wasily

With the visit of Rolf Fehlbaum, head of Vitra, everything accelerated. Their collaboration resulted in the final elegant model we know, with a steel frame and a polyurethane foam seat with steel leaf springs in the backrest that make the .03 very comfortable. Only the front legs are still made of alumunium and the back legs have a different design to provide sufficient support. 

Chair 0.3 Vitra by Maarten Van Severen
Fig 3: Chair 0.3 Vitra by Maarten Van Severen
Photo: Wasily

The .03 was an instant success, not least because of the large order placed by the Centre Pompidou in 1998, which brings about the commercial breakthrough in Belgium. Timeless and archetypal, the chair does well in private homes, offices, restaurants, museums and even churches.

About the Author:

Bruno Dursin – Managing Director at Believe in Steel. Bruno has more than 30 years of experience in promoting steel & steel solutions. His clients benefit from his extensive network within the building industry.

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