A fresh new book by the founder of Designers Guild
5 Iconic, red-colored design pieces for Christmas
Who said that neutral colors never go out of style? Here are 5 examples of colorful furnishings we all would like to have in our homes
Five iconic, red-colored design pieces that will add to your Christmas interior décor
5 Iconic red-colored design pieces. Yes, because an object designed never to go out of fashion can even be a colorful one.
All of us know the furnishings designed by great masters of design and modern architecture: they stand out for their neutral shades and the expressive honesty of each employed material. Just think of Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona Chair, or Le Corbusier’s Chaise longue, where the black or white leather upholstery perfectly matches the chair’s metal frame. Yet there is another, parallel mindset, born from the same Bauhaus art school directed by Mies van der Rohe (1930-1933), which employs color in design as an essential expressive element. Studies by Johannes Itten and Josef Albers at the Weimar Bauhaus were fundamental in that regard. Over the years, experiments on the combination of color, shape and design steadily went on, until achieving amazing results starting from the 1960s.
Here follows a selection of 5 examples of iconic design in whose DNA color plays a key role – red in particular, a passionate shade that has already won over many an artist in the different branches of creativity, from Valentino Garavani to Lucio Fontana.
Bocca - Studio 65, 1970, Gufram (cover photo)
The company statement exudes a tinge of pride: “Bocca is among the most sought-after, cherished and imitated products in the design branch. The 1970 original is only by Gufram”. And with good reason. Conceived for Marilyn Garosci’s Contourella wellness center in Milan, it was initially produced in a limited number. Nobody would have bet on the success of this long-standing cult-sofa. A real icon among Pop icons, a thoroughly unconventional object, inspired by the legendary lips of American actress Mae West, an undisputed sex-symbol between the 1930s and ‘50s, portrayed in the shape of a sofa in a famous painting by Salvador Dalì, portraying the actress as a furnished room. Marylin Monroe, too, shared their client’s charm through her name, her blond hair and the “perpetually red-lacquered lips”, as founder of Studio 65 Franco Audrito – to whom we owe the creation, together with his colleagues (Athena Sampaniotou, Adriana Garizio, Giancarlo Paci, Anna Maria Pozzo, Maria Schiappa, Ferruccio Tartaglia) of the Bocca sofa – recalls.
The Bocca sofa was created following 1970s experimentation on polyurethane foam with varying flow rate. Since 2008, its sensual, provocative spirit is embodied by two further color versions – fuchsia in the Pink Lady version and black, in the Dark Lady model that, in addition to this, features a duly proportioned lip piercing. Both versions are produced in a 500 multiples edition.
Chair_one – Konstantin Grcic, 2003-2004, Magis
The graphic outline of the Chair_one, one among Konstantin Grcic’s most famous projects, reproduces the pattern of a soccer ball. Starting from everyday objects is part of the German designer’s creative process, managing to lend new forms to his favorite subject of study: chairs. Even in this case, Grcic has managed to invent a new aesthetics, based on the asymmetrical arrangement of isosceles triangles, combining it with the potentialities of die-cast aluminum. The conical concrete base highlights the chair’s material component, creating an unusual contrast with a stunning effect of overall lightness. At the same time, it enables it to be used even in outdoor spaces, unalterable and tempered. The family’s progenitor is embodied by the famous version with four rectangular-section legs, followed by further versions with multiple seats, and a stool. The chair’s body in all models is made of die-cast aluminum polished or treated with sputtered fluorinated titanium and painted in red, black, white or yellow polyester powder. The version with concrete base features fixed or swivel seat with quick return mechanism.
Diamond Chair – Harry Bertoia, 1952, Knoll International
Designed by Italian-born American artist, sculptor and designer Harry Bertoia, the Diamond Chair features a lightweight aesthetics managing to take to the next level the expressive qualities of a material, such as welded steel rods with polished chrome or white or black Rilsan finish, that till then had been regarded as a mere industrial component. Available in two versions – with seat pad only, or completely upholstered – Diamond is a compact armchair that can be suitable even for outdoor use. Besides its geometrical shape, what makes it highly distinguishable is its metal wire framework. “When you look closely at these chairs, you’ll see that they are like sculptures made mainly of air. Space simply penetrates them”. With these words, Bertoia launched his chair collection with a statement that was bound to remain legendary in the history of contemporary design.
Arieto Bertoia aka Harry’s past as a sculptor, is visible in the Diamond Chair project. In the eyes of experts, its peculiar aesthetics proves to be enjoyable from every angle, in a characteristically sculptural kind of three-dimensionality. The original armchair features the Knoll logo stamped into the back of the base.
Egg – Arne Jacobsen, 1958, Fritz Hansen
Its name derives from the armchair’s likeness to a smooth eggshell. The Egg armchair by Arne Jacobsen was originally designed for the main hall of the Copenhagen Royal Hotel. The Danish designer has blended all functionally different components – i.e. seat, backrest and armrests – into one single shape. The result is something of a curved, inviting protective cocoon, offering the seater a remarkable variety of seating options. Egg – which is still in production today – is the fruit of a complex and chiefly handmade manufacturing. The armchair has been created by covering its body with a synthetic material realized by print with polyurethane foam upholstery and a close-fitting leather or textile lining, fixed on a base to four aluminum spokes.
Highly recognizable at first sight, the Egg armchair – a contemporary version of the traditional headrest armchair – continues traveling through time, suspended between the past and the future without aging in the slightest. Its characteristically convex shape has been obtained from a sculptural clay model by recreating a sort of domestic haven evoking the form of an egg. Comfortable and inviting, the Egg armchair is designed to offer private moments of relaxation in both public and private spaces.
Mezzadro – Achille & Pier Giacomo Castiglioni, 1957, Zanotta
Extremely widespread in both domestic environments and public offices, the Mezzadro stool – in production since 1971 – introduces the concept of objet trouvé into the world of furniture, in other words the idea to use an existing object or a part of it, keeping its shape but changing its place and the way it is used. Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni designed the stool by employing the seat of a farm tractor, made almost half a century earlier for the exhibition “Colors and Shapes in the Contemporary Home”, set up at Villa Olmo, in Como, in 1957. The displacement was radical, and it shows a design and social vision ahead of its time. Mezzadro is an inter-class object, lightheartedly combining irony and comfort.
The stool is made of four elements. An elastic chromium-plated steel stem supports the seat, which is made of lacquered and printed metal sheet. Ground support is ensured by a footrest in steam-treated, natural colored beech. The stool’s fastening pin is a “metallic wing nut commonly used for the blockage of bicycles’ wheels”.
The best of Design Miami 2017 according to 6 international influencers
Three European realities that working between high quality and social commitment
Patricia Urquiola's first solo exhibition in the United States
The Irianian designer launches ethnic line for Monoprix