Hans J. Wegner (1914-2007) was one of the most prolific designers the world has ever seen. His furniture paved the way for the international breakthrough of Danish Design in the years after World War II. In 1949 he created the Round Chair, which the Americans dubbed “The Chair”: the ultimate chair design. Over his long career he created some 500 chairs. Wegner’s work always stems from the manual craft, and he personally created many of the prototypes in his workshop. His life was a constant quest to explore the logic and potentials of wood. In 2014, Designmuseum Danmark celebrates the 100th anniversary of Hans J. Wegner’s birth with the exhibition “Hans J. Wegner – just one good chair”.
Hans J. Wegner – Just One Good Chair, April 3 – December 7, 2014, Designmuseum Danmark, København K, Danmark
Charlotte Perriand is regarded as one of the most influential designers of the early modern movement, acknowledging the increasingly machine-driven culture of the 1920s and ’30s and introducing the profound change in aesthetic values to interiors. As a true pioneer in the application of materials like steel, aluminium and glass to furniture, the french architect and designer established an expansive breadth of work that, to this day, remains the archetype of an evolutionary shift in the industry. When she was just 24-years-old, she commenced a decade-long collaboration with Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret, during which period the trio conceived and developed a series of tubular steel chairs, existing now as icons of an era. The work of Perriand will be a significant presence at Design Miami/ Art Basel Miami 2013 with presentations at the Raleigh Hotel, the Louis Vuitton Boutique and the Cassina showroom.
The Groninger Museum presents the first large-scale solo exhibition of the work of Jaime Hayon (Madrid, 1974). Hayon is one of the most acclaimed designers of his generation. His work consists of autonomous and applied projects, across various disciplines such as ceramics, wood, glass, textiles, product, furniture and interior design. This exhibition is a reflection of the past ten years, a period of intense creativity and growth, in which Hayon has increasingly developed his autonomous work.
Hayon was educated as an industrial designer in Madrid and Paris, and subsequently joined Fabrica, the communications research centre of the Italian clothing label Benetton, in 1997. Within a relatively short time he rose from being a simple student to head of department. In 2000, he started up his own company and made his debut in the art design world with the ceramic work Mediterranean Digital Baroque. The Groninger Museum has been following Jaime Hayon for quite some time. In 2009, the Museum purchased two large installations (Mediterranean Digital Baroque and Mon Cirque) and in 2010 he designed the Museum’s new information centre. With commissions from all over the world and a host of renowned clients, Hayon is regarded as one of the most influential young designers of the present day. The exhibition includes the installations Mediterranean Digital Baroque and Mon Cirque as well as the now iconic Green Chicken and commissioned works for clients such as Baccarat and Lladro. American Chateau, the collaborative project he made with his partner artist, Nienke Klunder, is also featured in the exhibition.
A remarkable element of the exhibition is The Tournament: a unique work that consists of a life-size chess set made of turned wood and hand-painted ceramics, which the Groninger Museum managed to purchase recently. Hayon created this work in 2009, having been commissioned by the Design Festival London to do so; the work was inspired by the Battle of Trafalgar. This is the Dutch première of the artwork. The intention is to organize chess games at specified times. Jaime Hayon’s work issues from an irresistible urge to create his own world. It occupies a central position between autonomous art and design, where amusing, fantastic and narrative elements are combined with a keen eye for detail and finishing. His signature is characterized by a stylized input in which diverse styles blend together. Making use of all these other elements, Hayon translates craftsmanship and traditional techniques into emotionally influential objects and interiors that invite the viewer to be a part of them.
Jaime Hayon: Funtastico, October 13, 2013 – March 30, 2014, at Groninger Museum, Netherlands, Photography © klunderbie, Jaime Hayon
For the 50th anniversary of Hans J. Wegner’s Shell Chair, manufacturer Carl Hansen & Son has teamed up with textile brand Maharam to release 20 special versions of Wegner’s iconic design.
The Shell Chair has long been viewed as one of Hans J. Wegner’s strongest designs. It first saw the light of day in 1963, but it took 35 years before it enjoyed its popular breakthrough and received numerous design awards. Through its unique silhouette and superior comfort, Wegner demonstrated that he had truly achieved what he had set out to do: create the ideal shell chair.
Carl Hansen & Son: The Maharam Shell Chair Project
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
Kunsthal Rotterdam will be presenting a comprehensive exhibition to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Dutch furniture brand Pastoe. Since it was founded in 1913, Pastoe has grown to become an internationally recognised designer label. The brand stands for simplicity, timelessness, quality and craftsmanship. Over the past years, Pastoe has acquired an excellent circle of designers including Maarten Van Severen, Shigeru Uchida and Scholten & Baijings.
The exhibition Like Pastoe illustrates the rich history of the furniture brand and provides an overview of the unique collaboration between Pastoe and various architects, artists and designers. The exhibition has been organised around the following themes: ARCHIVES, ENVIRONMENTS and VISIONS. In the ARCHIVES theme, Krijn de Koning presents the history of Pastoe using exceptional designs, advertising material, sketches, photographs and trade fair presentations. Within the ENVIRONMENTS section, Anne Holtrop projects Pastoe’s vision on the architectonic space. The exhibition’s installations represent an environment in which living, working, learning and creating are defined in a new way. VISIONS highlights the search for new perspectives on product development and includes work by various designers such as Naoto Fukasawa, Claudio Silvestrin and Scheltens & Abbenes.
Like Pastoe: 100 years of design innovation, February 23 – June 2, 2013, at Kunsthal Rotterdam
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In 1960 Dieter Rams conceived of a shelving system “…that could be expanded, rearranged and moved when necessary. The system initially went by the name RZ 60, and in 1970 was renamed the 606 Universal Shelving System, which continues to be a success today. Its popularity derives from the fact that lt offers restrained simplicity while the individual components offer great flexibility for the ever-changing lives of the owner. Over the years the wall-mounted shelving evolved to allow it to be compressed between the floor and ceiling (from 1970). A series of drawers, cabinets and integrated tables permits it to accommodate almost all requirements.” (Less and More: The Design Ethos of Dieter Rams)
606 Universal Shelving System by Dieter Rams, Available in annodized aluminium or white powder coated aluminium, for DePadova
In 1998 Finland issued a design-themed stamp set which featured some of the most iconic works of local design history: besides product and textile designs by Alvar Aalto, Kaj Franck, Bertel Gardberg, Timo Sarpaneva and Annika Rimala, furniture design was represented by one chair — Yrjö Kukkapuro’s Karuselli.
The exhibition in the Museum of Estonian Architecture gives an overview of the interior architect and furniture designer Yrjö Kukkapuro’s artistic production which spans over 50 years. Starting with a student work from 1957 and concluding with a prototype specially designed and manufactured for the Tallinn exhibition, Kukkapuro’s long career is filled with independent experiments in the field but also includes positions as the chief designer of Haimi, Lepokaiusto and Avarte. Kukkapuro’s first successful collection Moderno was created in 1958-1960 and is still in production.
Kukkapuro’s oeuvre is like an X-ray of the design history of the second half of the 20th century. Pop-art influenced colourful plastic chairs, Karuselli, Saturnus or Chair No. 419 manufactured in the 1960s from fibreglass and ABS plastic using experimental methods are contemporary benchmarks carried by utoplan aspirations. The minimalist turn in 1970s abandoned artificial materials, new favourite was birch plywood. Remmi and Pressu models date from that period but at the same time Kukkapuro started decades’ long experiment to create ergonomic office chairs. Piaano, Fysio, Sirkus or Funktus are series which thoroughly redefined the understanding about typical office furniture. in the 1980s the wave of Postmodernism brought back colour, patterns and décor to Kukkapuro’s chairs. The 1990s are characterized by the abstract patterns printed on simple plywood form from
the “tattooed” chairs series and in the 2000s the explorations in materials continue. New favourite is bamboo from which there is a series specially made for Chinese market.
Some of the earlier chairs of the still tenaciousiy active Yrjö Kukkapuro have become design classics which are sought-after in online auctions and vintage furniture stores, at the same time being exhibited in renowned design museums from London to New York. The exhibits, prototypes as well as production models, of the Tallinn exhibition are mainly from Kukkapuro’s personal collection which he has gathered in his atelier over the years.
Yrjö Kukkapuro Furniture, Jan 11 – Feb 10, 2013, at the Museum of Estonian Architecture, Tallinn, Estonia
Mass-produced midcentury furniture by the Italian modernist Carlo Mollino can cost a few thousand dollars per piece, and his prototypes and custom works cause greater market stirs.
In 2005 and 2008, Christie’s in New York got seven-figure prices for 1940s oak and maple tables that Mollino created for a marquis in Turin. The designer worked in a vocabulary of hairpin turns, spikes and flanges. He was also notoriously moody and obsessive, and a daredevil who flew experimental planes, scaled mountains and raced cars.
His colorful biography adds to the appeal of the objects. “They have a huge aura about them,” said Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn, the founder of the Salon 94 galleries in Manhattan.
A show with a few Mollino works from around 1950 (with five- and six-figure prices each) opens on Thursday at the Salon 94 branch on East 94th Street; display cases were designed by the British architect David Adjaye. The exhibition includes an ash bentwood chair and a resin-and-glass bookcase, made for a Turin publishing house, and aluminum boomerang light fixtures from a textile magnate’s apartment in Turin.
On Oct. 23 the Italian government blocked an auction at Christie’s in London that featured 30 pieces of 1950s Mollino furniture, which had long been installed in an Italian industrialist’s country house in the foothills of the Alps. The works, including oak and chestnut tables, chairs, cabinets and ceramic coat hooks, were deemed by the government to be treasures that could not be exported. (They were returned to their owner.)
On Dec. 10 Sotheby’s in New York will offer four 1940s oak chairs (estimated at $100,000 to $150,000 for the set) with split backs that a private collector found years ago at a Los Angeles tag sale. Mollino used the split-back design in ski resort and restaurant interiors, but no one knows where the tag-sale chairs originated.
The first American exhibition devoted exclusively to the work of one of the most influential and innovative figures of post-war French design. Featuring rare examples presented in historical living environments, the exhibition encompasses thirty unique pieces–many of which have never before been shown publicly–bringing to light the remarkable works of an oft-overlooked Modernist.
Born in France in 1925, Motte was part of a younger generation of post-war designers dedicated to an optimistic vision of industrialization and modern design’s ability to improve the lives of the masses. Following the reconstruction period, this group of designers embraced mass production as well as newer, affordable industrial materials as a means of realizing radically inventive forms.
A stolid devotion to contemporary forms, expressed using both traditional and newly invented industrial materials, established Joseph André Motte as one of the most visionary figures of his generation. Joseph André Motte: The Art of Living highlights the diverse breadth of materials that characterize Motte’s oeuvre and presents many of his most significant innovations in modern style. Featuring rare examples of Motte’s early work in rattan of 1954 to his transition to production furniture with Charron in 1958-60, the show is divided into two spaces that each focus on a distinctive period of this illustrious designer’s oeuvre.
Based on a 1954 Charron presentation, the first space will focus on Motte’s early work in plywood and rattan, and will feature a pair of the iconic 1949 Tripod Chairs and the 1954 rattan Sabre Chair, placed within a living room interior. These iconic designs exemplify Motte’s distinctive use of traditional techniques used to craft innovative modernist forms.
Motte’s designs for mass production and his experimentation with new affordable materials such as plastic, foam, and Formica will be represented in the second space, which will focus on Motte’s designs of the 1960s. This environment presents a 1960s chambre and includes a rare vinyl bed, the 1959 Light Table and a pair of nightstands made in luminous white opaline glass.
Joseph André Motte: The Art of Living, November 8 – February 9, at Demisch Danant, New York