In 1939 at the onset of World War II just as the German’s invaded Paris, architect and designer Jean Michel Frank fled the Nazi-occupied French capital for South America. Frank spent the final two years of his life based in Argentina working on several notable private and commercial projects, the most extensive being the Llao Llao Hotel.
The original hotel, which was constructed almost exclusively of wood and burnt down a year after completion, was designed by Argentinian architect Alejandro Bustillo and decorated and furnished entirely by Frank. The Llao Llao Hotel’s interior design represented the beginning of rustic modernism, a movement, like modernism, which striped objects of ornamental details, in this instance, to showcase the raw materials in focus.
It was while designing the furniture for the Llao Llao Hotel that Frank created his famous Elephant Chair; a low slung armchair of 18th century proportion with simple, cantilevered oak arms and doe-hide upholstery, a material native to the area. While Frank’s original designs were destroyed in the fire, a few photographs exist documenting this remarkable interior.