The African Touch Roorkhee Chair

Whether you know it or not, you’ve probably seen a Roorkhee chair at some point in your life.

The Roorkhee Chair & foot stool

Originally designed as a piece of Military field furtniture at the end of the 19th Century, the Roorkhee chair went on to influence many modern designers into the 20th Century, including Le Corbusier, Marcel Breuer, and Kaare Klint, who in 1933 redesign and renamed it the Safari Chair.

The Roorkhee chair itself was originally created in the town of Roorkhee, at the foot of the Himalayas in the United Provinces of India, Head Quarters of the British Officers stationed there in the 1890s.

The army needed a lightweight, portable, strong and comfortable chair. It had to be stable on rocky terraine, highly portable and lightweight. So Army engineers came up with the Roorkhee Chair. When you use the chair, the straps, arms, seat, and back all act under tension to keep the whole structure in place, allowing it to adjust to uneven ground and remain perfectly stable.

It was soon in use all over the world, from the Boer War in South Africa, right on through to the Second World War.

Today, the Roorkhee chair is as comfortable in our homes as part of our every day lives, as it is watching the sunset over camp.


We have tried, tested and built a number of Roorkhee chairs, as we were creating our unique version of this classic piece. Our conclusion was to keep ours clean and simple, without the unnecessary complications that seem to accompany a lot of newer designs.

We gave ours a taught, sloping seat, increasing comfort and making a cushion unnecessary. We also made it a little wider than other Roorkhees too, adding an extra bit of comfort and luxury. Then, there is the addition of a footstool, the same dimensions as the chair, for pure relaxation and comfort. It is an attractive piece in its own right and can serve as an extra seat.

Of the different timbers we tried, we settled on African Bloodwood. The timber also has a striking grain varying from dark brown to cream and is beautifully figured. It is also light and strong, and therefore easy to carry and fit for purpose.  An oil finish means the piece is perfectly suited to indoor and outdoor use.

For covers we offer a beautiful, soft but very strong Safari leather in dark brown or black. Alternatively a double sided, padded cotton canvas is very comfortable indeed. For more rugged applications where the chair may be outdoors in all weather conditions a quilted UV resistant, waterproof ripstop canvas may be the answer.