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A classic but innovative chair

Lensvelt, together with Powerhouse Company, developed an indoor-outdoor chair, called Coquille.
Coquille is a classic but innovative chair, technically advanced and hand-made in Italy. Coquille is also 100 per cent recyclable and available in any colour imaginable. The original inspiration for Coquille was a classic, modernist bistro chair made of curved wood and rattan and takes its name from Boticelli's birth of Venus.


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Elegantly curved ribs sit atop a swivel base

Ingredients for collaboration

As a respected furniture label, Lensvelt provides both architects and interior designers with the right tools to create the best possible interiors. Together with Powerhouse Company, we developed a chair that is solid, durable, comfortable, and well-designed, which to us is sober, functional, and logical.

Surprisingly sophisticated our tubular steel chair is a homage to one of nature’s most amazing designs – and to human ingenuity: technically audacious and handcrafted in Italy.

Using steel, we developed a design that is a total object, a one-piece sculpture. The generous back with its elegantly curving ribs sits atop a swivel base that rests on four legs, each with a boldly curving profile.

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Using steel, we developed a chair that is a total object, a one-piece sculpture.

A detail of the curved seat and the boldly curved leg

Inspired by the classic painting of Botticelli's Birth of Venus

We ace the base

There were many technical challenges in developing the design, which were solved with great ingenuity by Lensvelt R&D and the skilled artisans of the Italian manufacturers. Not least the extreme degree of bending needed for the uniquely shaped legs – requiring holes to be punched in them, which were later refilled. Getting the legs right was the key to the design.

Visually they extend the flowing form of the chair body into a single, infinitely flowing line. The upholstered seat then sits in the center of the chair, like a pearl in an oyster.

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Coquille is available in every color imaginable

Modernist models

The original model for Coquille was the classic modernist bent wood and rattan bistro chair. How could we interpret this icon design for the present time, adapting its natural lines and intuitive, organic form? Our partner in this project, Lensvelt furniture company, was mindful of the pandemic and wanted a chair that could be used outdoors as well as inside. This preference for versatility suggested tubular steel – a material loved by modernists since Marcel Breuer. Of course, the shiny reflective metal also echoes the fluid quality of water – perfect for giving form to our shell chair.

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The base and seat are powder coated

The separate parts are assembled after epoxying

The underside of the chair has a special design

Why architects love chairs

With a fine collection of architects’ chairs of our own, it was inevitable that Powerhouse would produce their one day. After all, every architect want to design a chair. Why? Probably because a chair can  so perfectly distil the essence of an architect’s style. A chair brings the work to a wider public, and it creates a uniquely intimate relationship with those who use it.
Coquille, like Powerhous' buildings, is classical yet innovative. It sculpts space using a modernist vocabulary of proportion, scale and geometry, which it adapts in a fresh and contemporary way. It’s a perfect fusion of form and function, and it has a powerful presence. It is simply elegant. More than just a chair, it’s a kind of microcosm of a Powerhouse Company building.

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About Powerhouse Company

Powerhouse Company is an award-winning architecture office based in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Founded in 2005, it has grown into a multidisciplinary office of around 100 professionals, with international studios in Beijing, Oslo, and Munich. Prizes include the Dutch Design Award, the Maaskant Prize and the AM/NAI Award.

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Detail of the uniquely shaped legs

Coquille chairs as used at Putaine restaurant & bar in Rotterdam

Hans Lensvelt (CEO Lensvelt), Nanne de Ru (founder Powerhouse Company) and Maarten Diederix, designer Powerhouse Company. Photo: Casper Rila