'A chair to share' - Creating the chair for everyone with Swiss designer Paolo Fancelli

With the relaunch of the iconic giroflex 313 chair, we speak to designer Paolo Fancelli about the inspiration behind his iconic design, which is the culmination of nearly 25 years of chair design refinement.

Launched in 2014, giroflex 313 is the fifth chair for Giroflex designed by legendary Swiss Industrial Designer Paolo Fancelli. With Italian heritage, studying in the French-speaking part of Switzerland, and being married to a German, Paolo does not describe himself as a traditional Swiss designer, but sees his mixed cultural roots as an advantage when it comes to design;


“Swiss design is known for its simple and straightforward solutions. But also for perfect shapes for long life quality - No excesses but high-quality standard. I recognize my working attitude in it - but my multicultural background makes every product of my design stories unique.”


A winner of the 2015 Red Dot Award, and the 2017 German Design Award, the giroflex 313 epitomises Paolo’s singular approach, combining elegance and functionality, an office chair featuring the powerful trademark Giroflex mechanism encased in a visually stunning design.


As Paolo explains, the development of the giroflex 313 was the result of his long journey creating designs with Giroflex; "The statement I made 22 years ago with the bestseller giroflex 64 is still true today. Giroflex 64 was designed to be an extension of the user’s body more than a part of the office architecture. The swivel chair is you, it’s a part of you. And when you use it you will feel free in the movements. This is why Giroflex 64 was a pertinent solution for many long years and still is because the swivel chair is a little bit more than a piece of office furniture."


"At the time we developed the giroflex 313, (with giroflex 64) we already had the perfect ‘machines’ for sitting in the office, but we now needed something new, a one-fits-all design to be used by anyone, a chair that speaks to everyone without operating instructions."


Below - The design story of the giroflex 64 with Paolo Fancelli

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The Sphere

"A chair to share" combined with the statement "designed around the user" are the phrases that Paolo had in his mind throughout the design process, a phrase which still features as the tagline for giroflex 313 today. This mantra led to the overall concept of the chair, which, as paolo explains, is the sphere.


"The new design for Giroflex needed a neutral geometric outline to fit everyone’s needs. And which solid figure has every point on its surface equidistant from its centre? The sphere. The spherical geometry of giroflex 313 structure gives the chair an elegant presence in the room particularly when moving and swiveling. A sphere never goes out of its original shape, no punching edges to the surrounding landscape!”


By this Paolo is referring to the movement of giroflex 313, particularly the synchro mechanism, which never distorts the spherical shape of the chair despite providing intuitive tilting to both the seat and backrest for optimal comfort and support.


Diagrams by Paolo Fancelli exploring the concept of the spherical design


Fine tuning the diagrams and a comparison with the finished product

The Relaunch

The relaunch of giroflex 313 includes the addition of aluminium armrests, which gave Paolo the opportunity for further refinement. Now much more visible, the aluminium armrests make the spherical shape even more pronounced, and further envelops the user into the centre of the shape. And by replacing plastic with recycled aluminium, the sustainability of the chair is further enhanced.


“As every timeless design piece, long-life materials only increase its position on the market. With the aluminium core now including the armrests, it definitely upgrades the chair into a state-of-the-art armchair. It is not a completely new design though, we just refine the original design direction so that now you can feel the sphere around you now.”


giroflex 313 with the new aluminium armrests. Multiple back rest options are available, including mesh. 


giroflex 313 also available in solid back, with a range of fabric upholstery options

Paolo's choice

With the relaunch of giroflex 313, Paolo will add the chair to his home office. Taking advantage of the wide range of customisation options, he has created a chair to perfectly suit his interior design scheme.


"For the fabric, I chose a Shadow grey Melange textile. I prefer something a little warm, and a little rough. The shadow grey with aluminium frame, I chose as it has an urban chic appeal and it reminds me of the granite, a stone which is very common in the mountains of southern Switzerland – even my house is built of stone –  it's at the same time prehistoric and urban. For me, I like the combination showing nature and comfort in an urban context."

Design your dream chair today

The new and improved giroflex 313 is now available. Visit our product page to find out more and create your own unique chair with our online design tool, where you can mix and match from a range of upholstery, materials and accessory options to truly make the chair of your dreams.


Click here to explore now

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