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Exhibition: A Passion for Jean Prouvé

The Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli presents A Passion for Jean Prouvé, an exhibition devoted to the furniture and architecture by the French designer Jean Prouvé from the collection owned by Laurence and Patrick Seguin.

Laurence and Patrick Seguin discovered the work of Jean Prouvé, in the late 1980s, through his furniture designs. They were immediately struck by the unique aesthetic of these pieces, where the artistic skill lies wholly in imperceptible technical mastery devoted to enhancing the strength of the materials. While at the time very few people had even heard of Jean Prouvé, their enthusiasm for his captivating lines was immediate, a revelation that became a true passion.

The couple then began to take an interest in Jean Prouvé’s work as a whole, of which the furniture is only a part, going on to discover his architectural designs. With the idea that “there is no difference between constructing a piece of furniture and constructing a building”, Jean Prouvé applied the same design approach to both fields, basing all of his work on it.

From the opening of their gallery in Paris in 1989, Laurence and Patrick Seguin began to work in earnest promoting the creations of Jean Prouvé, with the result that the most important international collectors and the most prestigious museums now have works by the French architect and designer in their collections. Indeed today Jean Prouvé is held to be one of the key exponents of twentieth century design.

Laurence and Patrick Seguin are now presenting a number of works from their private collection for the first time: around 40 pieces by Jean Prouvé, most of which are prototypes or extremely rare, from the armchair designed for the University dormitory of Nancy in 1932 to the light armchair created for the University of Antony in 1954, to the furniture produced for Africa.

The same principles of functionality and rational fabrication that the designer applied to furniture often destined for the public sector, can also be found in Prouvé’s architectural designs: the same solid structures feature clever mechanisms for assembly and organisation that enable both the furniture and the constructions to be easily moved, disassembled and modified.

The Maison Metropole (8×12 meters) is now to be mounted for the first time on the Lingotto track. In 1949 this aluminum construction won a Ministry of Education competition for “mass-producible rural school with classroom and teacher accommodation”: a masterpiece of nomadic housing, followed the portico principle patented by Prouvé in 1939. The Ateliers Jean Prouvé built two of them, one in Bouqueval, near Paris, and the other in Vantoux in Moselle, which will be on show in Turin.

Taking four people three consecutive days to assemble, a stop-motion film will be made of the construction process, with video footage streamed over the internet.

A Passion for Jean Prouvé: From Furniture to Architecture, Torino, Italy
April 6 – September 8, 2013, Galerie Patrick Seguin

Peg Chair by Nendo for Cappellini

A chair with back legs like wooden stakes that pierce the sides of the backrest. The stakes give the backrest a nipped-in curve which provides firm lower back support and comfortable seating despite its compact size. A sweetly-sized lounge chair inspired by ‘supermini’ cars like the Fiat 500 and smart cars that easily navigate Milan’s streets.

Peg Chair, by Nendo, for Cappellini

Wireflow Pendant by Arik Levy for VIBIA

Exploring geometries in two or three dimensions, Arik Levy designed for VIBIA the pendant lighting fixture Wireflow, an authentic sculpture of light in space. Wireflow reinterprets from a contemporary and original point of view the classical hanging luminaries, thanks to geometrical configurations able to integrate with other compositions and create a light installation with a unique character. Its structure formed by thin rods and LED terminals (3W) produces a visual continuity of lines and light spots, which provides the immaterial with a notable objectual character. According to Levy, Wireflow is in the mean time presence and absence, transparency and luminosity, light and fluidity.

Wireflow Pendant Lighting, by Arik Levy, for VIBIA

Ro Armchair by Jaime Hayón for Republic of Fritz Hansen

Ro is made with great craftsmanship and in the highest sustainable quality. Combined with the sculptural and elegant design, the result is a functional and aesthetic chair. The form of the shell gives you the choice of being part of what goes on in the room or relaxing in your own private space. “Ro” means tranquillity in Danish. The name was chosen because it captures the point of the chair in just two letters, thus reflecting the Nordic approach and concept of beauty. “We wanted a chair that was comfortable as well as beautiful. My goal was to create a slim and elegant chair that encourages reflection and comfort”, says Jaime Hayon.

The easy chair is available in nine colours: three traditional options (black, grey and taupe), three bright colours (violet, blue and yellow) and three soft colours (light pink, sage-green and sand). For a more vibrant look, the chair features two different textures: one for the seat shell and one for the cushions, which supports the contrasted expression of the hard shell and the warm and soft interior.

Ro Armchair, by Jaime Hayón, for Republic of Fritz Hansen

Icon: Drawings of Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona Chair

Gerald Griffith at work in his studio:

Wright has offered at auction several original drawings of the Barcelona Chair by Mies van der Rohe.

When Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona chair was introduced in 1929 it was critically acclaimed but the cost and difficulty of chrome plating the frames limited production. By the early 1950s technology had caught up to Mies van der Rohe’s progressive furniture designs and both Knoll Associates and Gerald Griffith were producing his forms. Chairs produced by Knoll and Gerald Griffith can be distinguished by looking at the intersection of the base; works made by Gerald Griffith feature a crisp hard-edged intersection while versions by Knoll have a reinforced curved intersection.

The Mies van der Rohe office found Gerald Griffith in 1949. The challenge of creating the Barcelona chair in stainless steel – something engineers said could not be done – appealed to Griffith’s tenacious personality. After much experimentation and exploration, Griffith completed the task and he produced Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona and Tugendhat designs in stainless steel for a number of years.

Provenance: The Office of Mies van der Rohe, Chicago | Edward A. Duckett, Bowling Green | David Bryant, Bowling Green In celebration of Mies van der Rohe’s 125th birthday, Wright’s senior specialist Michael Jefferson presented the history of the Barcelona chair to The Mies van der Rohe Society.

Blueprint and Elevation of the Barcelona chair, 1950, Auction at Wright

Photography: FLOS Lighting by Carl Kleiner

Carl Kleiner has completed a series of product photography for the lighting brand FLOS.

FLOS, by Carl Kleiner, at MINK MGMT.

Ascent by Daniel Rybakken for Luceplan

Ascent uses the same archetypical head found on Counterbalance (Luceplan 2012), mounted on a slender vertical stem. By moving the head along the stem, the light intensity goes from being turned off at the bottom position, to gradually ascending to the full light output at the top. This gives the user control over not only the light intensity, but also the spread of the light.

The visual elements of Ascent are all recognizable, from the classic head to the round stem, but it is the way you use Ascent that makes it different from existing lights. The gesture of sliding the head upwards for more light and down for less is a conceptual idea, but at the same time an action that feels natural.

Ascent comes in two versions, with an anchor bolt for tables, or with a base. The anchor bolt is made impact resistant by having a co-molding of steel and rubber in the base, allowing up to 15 degree of tilt of the stem. As to protecting the inner mechanics and electronics the head is made to rotate freely. These measures make Ascent suitable for larger public spaces as well as for domestic use.

Ascent, by Daniel Rybakken, for Luceplan

Jar RGB by Arik Levy for Lasvit

Jar RGB is a lighting project connecting thin colorful glass blowing techniques and the idea of RGB color mixing. Using white glass for one of the hanging jars allows it to turn into a large light bulb generating the light for the entire fixture. Observing one jar through another and the space surrounding them gives one a unique and everlasting discovery of color superimposition.

Jar RGB by Arik Levy for Lasvit

Radice Stool by Industrial Facility for Mattiazzi

Unlike many other Italian producers, Mattiazzi keeps all the facets of wood production under one roof. By default, they have become a rare company that is able to shape wood as if it were plastic, while embracing ever-increasing challenges through their own R&D. Industrial Facility have continued to push Mattiazzi further into the exploration of robot-craftsmanship – following on from their first collaboration with the Branca Chair.

Radice finds its underlying beauty and simplicity in its structure. It is the bringing together of the front-half of a traditional 4-legged stool with a single back leg – the root. It is a visual improvisation, where two things come together unexpectedly.

“Radice has some tension in its form and it is a slight surprise that the third leg works as well as it does to resolve the overall structure. It is in some ways structurally diagrammatic, yet is made comfortable visually and physically because of how this third leg supports the seat,” says Sam Hecht.

The backrest is small and reassuring, allowing a coat or handbag to rest on it; and the seat is open for large and small people. It is light both visually and in weight and uses no screws or metal fittings, yet also passes stringent BIFMA standards ensuring it is structurally sound, stable and reliable. The wood stain options for Radice are based on the cycle of an autumn leaf turning colour.

Radice Stool, by Industrial Facility, for Mattiazzi

Gardenias by Jaime Hayon for BD Barcelona Design

Gardenias is a collection of furniture for the garden. That’s not a real genre, but it does differentiate Gardenias from other exterior furniture collections. Subtlety, beauty and memory are omnipresent in its design, along with a determination to make the collection broad, varied, multipurpose and open. Further pieces will be added in the future. There will be room for sculptural vases and planters of surprisingly fine terracotta, chairs with or without a pergola, benches and even an attractive watering can.

One of the most outstanding characteristics of the collection is the way its translated the generally rigid and square-shaped image of outdoor metallic furniture to a language that is more romantic in form and also suitable for indoor use. It carries the unmistakable mark of Hayon in the svelte, subtle and feminine forms. It is almost Gaudí-sque (or should we say Gardenia-esque) in so much as it renders metal with organic, almost natural shapes – ones that are more generally seen in furniture made of wood.

Gardenias, by Jaime Hayon, for BD Barcelona Design

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