Bodil Kjær originally designed this furniture to provide her clients with outdoor furniture that would age well and be comfortable to use. She also wanted the furniture to be a sort of form extension of the contemporary architecture of the buildings her clients were having built – to become elements of architecture so to speak. She reasoned that since furniture should be scaled to the spaces it is to be used in, naturally, outdoor furniture would have to be scaled to the vast space of the outdoors as well as to the buildings surrounding it.
The designs were developed for execution by unskilled labour, using simple machinery. Experiments with glue, joints and protective finishes took place, and some of the early samples were tested by being left on a porch facing the Atlantic Ocean, exposed to wind, sun, salt, snow and fogs. During design and development it was decided to make outdoor/indoor furniture rather than just outdoor pieces. And clients agreed: why have two sets of furniture if one is enough?
Early on, Head of Architecture at Harvard, Jose Luis Sert, designed the Sherman Student Union building at Boston University and specified the furniture for indoor as well as outdoor use. So did the Chicago architect, Harry Weese, when designing a golf club for the employees at Cummings Engineering at Otter Creek, Indiana in 1960.
A table was added in 1965 and a long chair in 1974. The barrel chair was re-designed in 1975 for use in subtropic climates.