See more objects with the color rebeccapurple mediumorchid darkgrey or see all the colors for this object.

Object Timeline


  • Work on this object began.



  • We acquired this object.


  • You found it!

Drawing, Preparatory Drawing for Osso Chair

This is a drawing. It was designed by Erwan Bouroullec and Ronan Bouroullec. It is dated 2011 and we acquired it in 2014. Its medium is purple marking pen, graphite on white paper. It is a part of the Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design department.

Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec’s design for the Osso chair was conceived with its manufacturer in mind. Mattiazzi, a family owned and operated company based in Udine, Italy, is known for its sophisticated use of cutting edge technology and its commitment to local manufacturing. Using an eight-axis CNC milling machine, Mattiazzi produces wooden furniture in complex shapes that were once reserved for injection-molded plastic. Mattiazzi uses wood carefully selected and sourced from the surrounding region. Environmentally conscious, their manufacturing equipment is powered by solar energy.

Osso, the Italian word for bone, alludes to the Bouroullec brothers’ desire to create a family of furniture whose material is what gives the structure strength but also to the physical inspiration for its form. The “assembling system of wooden panels allows a quite singular strength while preserving a design balance of the objects.” As the Bouroullecs have noted, “the quality of the wood literally makes the object.” The Osso chair design highlights the “sensuality” of the wood. The wood’s smooth, polished surface, which is not chemically treated, invites touch and allows the material, be it oak, maple or ash, to “express itself.”

This drawing, which was executed in the early months of 2011 by the Bouroullecs, was done after the Osso chair had already gone into development with Mattiazzi. Inspired by the successful form and production, the designers took the opportunity for a “moment of reflection” to consider how the Osso design might grow into a larger collection of furniture. The drawing illustrates the Osso chair in both child and adult size, as an armchair, and finally as a stool. The use of a purple felt pen brush to execute the designs on the sheet was a conscious one, though not evocative of a particular produced wood or stain. The brothers have written, “Felt pen allows [the] drawing of shapes not by contours but through masses of colour.” As “opposed to thin lines that can be used to define forms by structure and perimeter...the ink spreads on the paper in a generous, bold and massive way, producing shapes [through] concentric lines, stain by stain.”

This object was donated by Erwan Bouroullec and Ronan Bouroullec. It is credited Gift of Erwan and Ronan Bouroullec.

Its dimensions are

17.8 x 25 cm (7 in. x 9 13/16 in.)

Cite this object as

Drawing, Preparatory Drawing for Osso Chair; Designed by Erwan Bouroullec (French, born 1976), Ronan Bouroullec (French, b. 1971); France; purple marking pen, graphite on white paper; 17.8 x 25 cm (7 in. x 9 13/16 in.); Gift of Erwan and Ronan Bouroullec; 2014-18-1

There are restrictions for re-using this image. For more information, visit the Smithsonian’s Terms of Use page.

For higher resolution or commercial use contact ArtResource.

If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Drawing, Preparatory Drawing for Osso Chair |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=7 February 2023 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>