Willy Guhl was born in Stein Am Rhein, Switzerland in 1915 and passed away in 2004. He was trained as a real craftsman, making cabinet’s in Schaffhausen at the young age of 15. A few years later in 1939 he opened his own workshop. Soon he began experimenting with declining chairs.
As a craftsman he was always intrigued by industrial materials and new production methods. This became abundantly clear when he designed the first plastic-shell chair in Europe. This inspired him to participate in the MoMA competition “Low-Cost Furniture Design”.
Having created quite a name for himself, Willy became head of interior design at the Vocational Arts College in Zurich in 1951 and would remain so for 30 years. But Guhl’s beach chair out of 1954 brought him special recognition. It is characterized by the eternit band it is made of, which gave it an archaic expression because of its material and also a loose look because of the swung lines.
He advanced to one of the most important representatives of the Swiss neo functionalism of the 20th century. His influence in Swiss design is truly remarkable.