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Founded by Italian immigrant Lucian Ercolani in 1920, Ercol achieved national prominence when the Board of Trade commissioned 100,000 low-cost chairs from the company in 1944 – Utility Furniture to solve a national shortage. The curvy Butterfly chair, made from beech and elm, dates from 1958, when the country was feeling wealthier and optimistic about the future.

Lucian Ercolani

Furniture designer Lucian Ercolani (1888-1976) was born in Italy and moved to London with his family in the 1890s. There he went to night school at the Shoreditch Technical Institute where he studied drawing, design and the theory and construction of furniture. In 1907 he made his first piece of furniture: a musical cabinet with a mother-of-pearl inlay. From 1910-1920, Ercolani worked in the design teams for what would later become Parker Knoll and G-Plan, before founding ercol in 1920. He designed ercol's products for many years and his Windsor range remains one of company’s most popular over half a century after it was first launched.

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