As always, the recently concluded 2009 edition of the Milano Design Week saw numerous exercises in style and many attractive proposals conforming with the new canons of the third millennium (environmentally correct and innovative in terms of materials and production methods) in the shape of chairs, sofas, bookcases and other objects.
As always, there were not that many examples of positive, significant change – of a profound reassessment of the configuration and uses of items of furniture themselves, whether they be chairs, sofas, tables or bookcases.
For instance, the Mezzadro and Sella, two design milestones created by the Castiglioni brothers for Zanotta in 1950 and 1957 respectively, represented a radical rethinking of the chair that was more informal, more dynamic and more in keeping with the way we sit in a study, an office or at home, moving constantly from one place to the next, between the desk and the phone.
Reflecting the same innovative spirit is the 360° by Grcic for Magis. Hard, militarian and apparently uninviting, it instantly conveys the idea of a chair intended to be sat in for very brief periods – echoing the essence of the chair for very short ‘visits’ designed by Bruno Munari (and produced in a highly limited edition of just nine pieces by Zanotta in 1945) as a parody of the new frenetic lifestyle – which, in reality, invites the user to change position frequently, straddling the chair, perched on the edge or stretched out lazily, with the wheels allowing you to move continuously through a full 360°.
Magis MD Eugenio Perazza who, like Aurelio Zanotta in the days of Castiglioni and Munari, knows the importance of looking forward and has accepted yet another challenge, believing in a design that will convince for its dynamic strength. He says: “in the archipelago of design there are idyllic productive islands that live in a spirit of innovation and propose alternative directions to the great mass market of consumerism, which is more saturated now than ever.”
The article continues in Auto & Design no. 177