Frond Chair

The Frond Chair is an organically-inspired, ominously skeleton-shaped cast bronze chair, designed by Terence Main in 1991.

Fourth Frond Chair
Fourth Frond Chair, cast bronze sculpture by Terence Main, 1991, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Image source’Fourth_Frond’_Chair,_cast_bronze_sculpture_by_Terence_Main_(American_born_1954),_1991,_Metropolitan_Museum_of_Art.jpg

A Skeletal Structure of Contrasting Areas

Terence Main‘s side chair is built to evoke primal, organic shapes inherent to lifeforms, such as plants’ structures and animal skeletons, the shape of its seat and back suggesting both leaf forms and rib cages; this effect was accomplished by having every surface of the original chair – even the underside of its seat – carved before it was cast in bronze. The design was further accentuated through contrasting areas of polished and patinated bronze, coating the jagged shapes in a metallic black, not unlike a design from H.R. Giger.

Fourth Frond Chair
“Fourth Frond” Chair 1991

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Recalling Ancient Beings

The Frond Chair is probably the most recognizable piece of furniture created by Terence Main, and not by mere chance: the chair perfectly encapsulates Main’s ideas on design and his habit of breaking its boundaries. The chair’s biomorphic form eskews the placid, sinous bio-organic forms usually adopted by product designers, instead adopting the fossilized remains of ancient creatures and vegetation as its inspiration. The geometric yet sinuous shapes of the design render the placing of the chair in the natural order of things particularly ambiguous, almost as if there was an alien presence.

Frond Chair Models
Frond Chair Models
Another Frond Chair Model
Another Frond Chair Model

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A Gift to the Museum of Modern Art

The Frond Chair has been exhibited during several events at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the most recent being in 2012 for the “Highlights from the Modern Design Collection: 1900 – Present, Part II”. The chair’s presence in the museum is justified by having been originally gifted to the museum by Loretta Michaelcheck in 1991.

Frond Chair with table
Frond Chair with table

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  • Designer: Terence Main;
  • Year of design: 1991;
  • Material: cast bronze;
  • Dimensions: 86.4 x 49.5 x 53.3 cm;
  • Classification: furniture;
  • Credit Line: gift of Loretta Michaelcheck.

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