I Tried the Indestructible Dining Chair That’s in All of San Francisco’s Coolest Restaurants
I even built it myself.
Published May 22, 2023 1:34 AM
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If you’ve dined in San Francisco recently—at the iconic pasta-focused Flour + Water, new farm-to-table spot Ernest, or buzzy Hand Roll Project—this might not be news to you, but you’ve sat in some of the cleverest chairs and stools made in the city.
And they’re not from a legendary (yet) designer—they’re made by Fyrn (pronounced fee-urn; it’s Old English for “ancient”), a local company that dreams up all of its chairs, stools, and (now) tables in its Mission neighborhood studio. The founder, Ros Broughton, is a fourth-generation woodworker.
The fact that so many restaurants use the brand’s signature Mariposa chair isn’t a flex—it’s because the Fyrn system (they call it Stemn), which includes a patented bracket that took years to perfect, is made from parts that are mostly indestructible and worst-case scenario, replaceable. In your own home, that means you’re sitting on a piece of furniture that will literally last you a lifetime and then some.
The Mariposa comes in five types wood, from a pale maple to a charcoal black-stained North American hardwood, and you can choose the color of your brackets, which are visible. Leather upholstery is also available for the back and seat. I ultimately went with maple, which I figured would fit in with my Scandi-rainbow apartment, and just for some contrast, black brackets. I skipped the leather, but next time I would add it for the literal softness it brings to your backside.
When the Fyrn arrived at my door, it was in a flat-pack box that measured 23-by-23-by-6 inches. At around 20 pounds, I could easily carry it upstairs myself, and putting it together took all of 15 minutes. This was mostly because of the brand’s how-to video, which is accessible via a QR code in the packaging, and with the help of its special hand-crank tool that makes it a breeze to tighten screws.
I get that it’s not the smartest decision to review a chair that claims it will last forever if I’ve only spent two months using it—but honestly, I can’t help myself. The Mariposa is my new desk chair, and it gets me through hours of writing and meetings. It’s also light enough to carry over into the dining room on game nights when we need more seating.
Is $675 a lot for a chair? Yes, but hear me out: You can find discounted chairs and stools on the company’s Annex site, which compiles final-sale seconds and vintage pieces. It also includes items that Fyrn buys back (for whatever reason) and restores. It’s worth it to me knowing that should a part break or get destroyed, I can send the chair back to Fyrn, get a replacement, and build it myself, making its circular design truly sustainable. And thanks to that sleek and simple design, I’ll love it forever, too.