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Willy Guhl

Willy Guhl

Willy Guhl (1915 - 2004)

Born in Stein am Rhein in 1915, Will Guhl started as a cabinetmaker and then studied at the School of Applied Arts in Zurich where he became a teacher in 1941 and then, as of 1951, the director for 39 years. The Röthlisberger house was the first to publish its piece of design in 1941: the Bankstuhl, a chair-bench in wood and cane.

Willy Guhl is one of the greatest Swiss designers and is one of the spearheads of neo-functionalism. He is acknowledged for the invention of the famous Fibrocement Loop Chair for Eternit. Thanks to a very strong resistance to traction, as well as weights and climatic variations, the Fibrocement allows Willy Guhl to realise new forms, in particular by bending the material. "No other building material this thin gives such stability," he said.

He is also one of the pioneers of furniture in kit, as he wanted to give the poorest people access to "good design". "At the centre of my efforts, I put... people and their living requirements," said Guhl in 2003. "I want to improve their immediate environment."
"My products must be useful to people," he added.