What Are Gubi Chairs & Why Is The Designer In Always Be My Maybe Obsessed With Them?

At the premiere of Netflix's new movie Always Be My Maybe last week, actress Casey Wilson, known for her role in Happy Endings and her popular podcast Bitch Sesh: A Real Housewives Breakdown, told The Hollywood Reporter, "I had done a table read, and I just said to my agents, 'I'll do anything to be any small part of this.' Just because I love Ali [Wong] and Randall [Park] and I love the script."
Wilson did indeed land a bit part in Wong and Park's new romantic comedy, which hits Netflix today, and despite only having a few lines, she managed to grab viewers' attention through her character's odd fixation with Gubi chairs.
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In the film, Casey Wilson plays a designer who works with celebrity chef Sasha Tran (Ali Wong) to help create the look of her new, highly anticipated San Francisco restaurant, Saintly Fare. The scene in which Wilson's character is featured most prominently shows her doing a walkthrough of the space with Sasha and suggesting they put something called a "Gubi chair" at almost every single one of the restaurant's many tables. The repetition of the words "Gubi chair" and Sasha's bemused and annoyed reaction to it is cackle-inducing, but it also sparks a genuine question: what exactly is a Gubi chair?
Turns out Gubi isn't just a chuckle-worthy word perfect for a random but hilarious bit in a rom-com. Gubi is actually a global design house run by Jacob Gubi Olsen, whose parents founded the company in 1967. Gubi's design mission is "celebrating the luxury of living life." The Copenhagen-based brand is known for its eclectic, intercontinental selection of furniture, lighting, and interior objects. Among the furniture Gubi specializes in designing is, of course, a selection of chairs.
According to Danu Kennedy, design director at New York-based Parts and Labor Design, which won a 2019 James Beard Award for Outstanding Restaurant Design, Gubi's Beetle Dining Chair actually is quite beloved by interior designers in the hospitality industry because it's beautiful and versatile. "I would say that the design of the chair, it's optionality — you can even change the base from different metal finishes to a wood base — allows it to pair with many different aesthetics or restaurant spaces," she tells Refinery29. "It fits perfectly with the current trends of lighter palettes and curved architecture, as well as with a more classic historical setting."
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Kennedy says Parts and Labor Design has yet to use Gubi Beetle chairs in a restaurant, but the design firm did use them as the dining chairs in the Presidential Suite at the Thompson Hotel in Nashville. "We love these chairs, they're a beautiful design with finish optionality, which is always a great combination when specifying an off-the-shelf piece as opposed to designing something custom for a project." Parts and Labor's design work for the Thompson Hotel, which included the now-famous chair, was well-received and even earned a finalist spot in Hospitality Design's 2017 HD Project Awards.
Based on the many Instagram images Gubi has shared of its iconic Beetle chair being used in restaurants all over the world, the design does seem to work with all sorts of different aesthetics from industrial to luxurious. So, it seems Casey Wilson's character's incessant obsession with Gubi chairs is based in design truth.
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