A 360º Design Evolution of the Iconic Copacabana Lounge Chair

03.13.24 | By
A 360º Design Evolution of the Iconic Copacabana Lounge Chair

Mathieu Matégot’s curvy metal masterpiece, the Copacabana Lounge Chair, was first introduced to design lovers in 1955. The Hungarian-born designer had a knack for turning hard industrial materials into forms that almost seemed to float, with the Copacabana featuring a sculpturally curved structure formed using a single piece of tubular steel. One of Matégot’s best-known pieces, the exemplary artifact lives in a permanent collection at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, France.

GUBI has given the Copacabana Lounge Chair a thoughtful update optimized for today’s indoor/outdoor lifestyle. Matégot’s original design was preserved and given refined ergonomics for contemporary weight tolerances  and a bold new colorway the designer would surely approve of.

A pair of lounge chairs in a room with a beige background.

Adjustments to the angle of the backrest and seat maximize comfort while seated. To make the low-slung curvy metal masterpiece feasible for use outdoors, it was given a material update to powder-coated stainless steel, which is corrosion-resistant, much stronger, and more rigid. Additional perforations were added to the seat to accommodate drainage while keeping the design open in texture and light in weight. Outdoor upholstery fabrics have also entered the conversation, allowing the chair to effortlessly migrate from indoors to outdoors and back again. With its bohemian, laidback aesthetic, the updated Copacabana Lounge Chair is a natural evolution of Matégot’s furniture vision, where the difference between indoor and outdoor furniture lies only in the material used.

A pair of lounge chairs in detail.

“Having the opportunity to reissue as well-loved a design as the Copacabana is both a huge privilege and a tremendous responsibility,” says Marie Kristine Schmidt, Chief Brand Officer, GUBI. “I am proud that we have been able to elevate one of the most influential pieces of Matégot’s prodigious career practically and ergonomically, while maintaining the integrity of expression that makes it so unique. It is a brilliant design that truly deserves to be enjoyed by the people of today – now it really can.”

A black lounge chair.

Curved metal tubing forms the legs, seat, and frame of the backrest of the Copacabana. The backrest is crafted with perforated sheet metal – a signature touch of Matégot’s work – that naturally complements the chair’s contoured forms. Three stainless steel tubular rings are pinned and welded together to form the seat, with the upper ring mirroring the lower to form the backrest. The base is an oval that’s bent using special production techniques to form the continuous rear leg.

Detail of a black lounge chair.

Two colors are available for the Copacabana’s new stainless steel frame. In addition to classic black, GUBI has released an edition in International Orange, the exact color of the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s a color Matégot loved – he even included it in early editions of the famed Lounge Chair. Bright, bold, and joyful, the use of orange introduces playfulness and contrast to the hardness of the metal chair.

Copacabana’s cushion is available in a selection of indoor and outdoor upholstery. If it’s destined for a life indoors, the cushion can also be upholstered using any fabric from GUBI’s extensive collection.

When asked of the momentous occasion, Xavier and Patrice Matégot, Mathieu Matégot’s sons, share: “The reissued design takes the Matégot vision of seamless indoor/outdoor living to its natural conclusion, and shines a bright and brilliant spotlight on one of the most important pieces of his career.”

A red lounge chair.

Detail of a red lounge chair.

Detail of a red lounge chair.

Two lounge chairs in a room with a view of the ocean.

A lounge chair on a balcony overlooking the ocean.

A balcony with a lounge chair and a view of the city.

black and white image of a light skinned man looking at the camera thoughtfully

Mathieu Matégot

To learn more about the evolution of the Copacabana Chair, visit

Kelly Beall is Director of Branded Content at Design Milk. The Pittsburgh-based writer and designer has had a deep love of art and design for as long as she can remember, from Fashion Plates to MoMA and far beyond. When not searching out the visual arts, she's likely sharing her favorite finds with others. Kelly can also be found tracking down new music, teaching herself to play the ukulele, or on the couch with her three pets – Bebe, Rainey, and Remy. Find her @designcrush on social.