An icon of the twentieth century, you know, is forever (or was it a diamond?). Yes, because there is nothing more current than a design icon, which has become such because it is perfect, because it has stood the test of time while remaining immune to the trends of the moment.
For some years now, companies have been doing a work of recovering and enhancing the historical heritage by re-editing and revisiting the products of the 20th century masters who made the history of design. The goal is to update furniture from the last century in a contemporary way: the shape and details are rigorously respected but instead the production techniques change, with new materials and finishes that make these icons of the past more efficient and sustainable.
2020 saw the re-edition of many furniture and design objects from the 1900s, also thanks to the many “anniversaries” that fell just last year. For example, 50 years have passed since the launch of some of the symbolic furnishings of Italian design (such as the upholstered furniture by Bellini), the Memphis Group turned 40 last December and, 2020, also marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of Vico Magistretti.
In short, a way to celebrate these anniversaries and pay homage to the great masters of the 1900s.
Here, then, is my selection of 10 of the re-editions presented last year.
CAMALEONDA by Mario Bellini – B&B ITALIA
Designed by Mario Bellini in 1970, B&B has put this design icon sofa back into the catalog, while maintaining all its peculiar characteristics: the 90×90 seat module, the soft stitching and the system of cables and hooks that characterize this sofa. The name Camaleonda is the union of two terms: Camaleonte (italian for chameleon), for the modularity and transformability of the sofa, and Onda (italian for wave) for the stitching of the upholstery .
GLI SCACCHI by Mario Bellini – B&B ITALIA
Designed by Bellini in 1971, the chess pieces are three light and easy parallelepipeds that can be composed and juxtaposed at will: “They are among the most playful pieces of furniture I have ever designed”, declares Bellini. The three pieces that make up the series are inspired by the game of chess, in particular Queen, Knight and Tower, light and easy to move like on a chessboard. In the original 1971 version the Chess pieces represented a remarkable technical innovation with their self-skinning polyurethane coating while in the 2020 re-edition they are offered with soft leather or Kanu leather upholstery with visible stitching.
VICO DUE by Vico Magistretti – FRITZ HANSEN
To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Vico Magistretti, the Danish company puts back into production the Duo chair, designed for Fritz Hansen in 1997. Magistretti was inspired by a sketch of the letter “Z”, a sign that was then developed in a pair of armrests that frames the simple and linear shape of the seat and back.
KYOTO by Gianfranco Frattini – POLTRONA FRAU
Sober and refined, the Kyoto table is a geometric table where the joint is the protagonist. Designed by the architect and designer Gianfranco Frattini in 1974, it is the perfect expression of the encounter between design vision and executive mastery. The inspiration and the project come from a trip to Japan that the designer made, together with the master cabinetmaker Pierluigi Ghianca, to study the work of local artisans.
CHIARA by Mario Bellini – FLOS
Designed by Bellini in 1969 for Flos, the company celebrates the 50th birthday of the Chiara lamp by reissuing the original floor version in stainless steel and in a new, smaller table model made of aluminum. The Chiara lamp has become an iconic design object because it consists only of a sheet of polished stainless steel, cut and rolled into a cylinder.
Collezione Carlo Mollino CM 2020– Zanotta
More than a re-edition, it is a real tribute that the company has decided to pay to the work of the Turin architect and designer Carlo Mollino: “Who knows what Mollino would have been able to do today, between carbon fibers or other composite materials, if using only solid wood and skilled craftsmen he was able in the 1950s to invent such slender structures “.
There are eight furnishings that make up the new Zanotta 2020 Mollino Collection, distinguished by the initials CM: the container Carlino CM (the first piece designed by Mollino in 1938) – the Milo CM mirror from 1938 – the Ardea CM armchair from 1946 – the table Reale CM from 1948 – the Arabesco coffee table CM from 1949 – the Cavour CM desk from 1949 – the reclining chair in 4 positions Gilda CM from 1953 – the Fenis CM chair.
DUC by MarioBellini – CASSINA
Duc is an original project from 1976 that in 2020 Cassina renewed and updated both in terms of comfort and dimensions of the seat, maintaining its characteristic structure with panels assembled by means of a zip that runs along the sides for the entire height. In the new version, the coating is made with a 100% recycled fiber, obtained from PET largely recovered from the oceans.
Ico Parisi – CASSINA
Among the historical protagonists of Italian design, Domenico (Ico) Parisi returns into I Maestri di Cassina catalog with three pieces designed in the 1950s. The chosen pieces are reissued both from the company’s historical archive and from private collections that have never been mass-produced. The 875 armchair, the Olimpino dining table, designed in 1955 for a villa in Como and the PA ‘1947 console.
MINITOPO by Joe Colombo – STILNOVO
In 2020 Stilnovo, a Linea Light Group brand, re-edited Minitopo, the table lamp that Joe Colombo designed in 1970. The curved lines of the lampshade, which represent the very envelope of the traditional light bulb, recall the image of a cute little mouse. Faithful to the original design, the diffusing cap maintains the five slots which, looking at automotive engineering, dissipate heat while avoiding direct glare.
VALIGIA di Ettore Sottsass – STILNOVO
This year, Stilnovo put the lamp La Valigia by Ettore Sottsass back in production, with a design faithful to the original designed in 1977. Valigia is ironic and informal, a small architecture with arches and vault designed to be taken anywhere.
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