Provenance may not be around every corner at design fairs like Maison & Objet, but it’s prevalent enough and I spotted some nice examples at #MO16 in January. Here is the backstory on these time-honored designs that have been infused with an updated appeal.
Design Provenance at Maison & Objet
Gubi Brings Back the Satellite Lamp
There isn’t a name more often associated with provenance than Gubi and the Copenhagen-based manufacturer has done it again, bringing the Satellite lamp, designed by Mathieu Matégot in 1953, back into production. The shades of this family of pendants are made using Rigitulle, a folding of fabric-like metal sheets that the designer invented. These textural globe-like shades, which extend from an arcing metal plate, come in midnight black, white cloud, Venetian gold, rainy gray and shy cherry—though the color is far from bashful!
Matégot was a Hungarian designer/architect who studied at Budapest’s school of art and architecture before settling in France in 1931. The first handmade furniture he produced was in Paris, his organic forms and innovative techniques, such as his Rigitulle, set him apart. Matégot travelled the world in search of inspiration and techniques, transforming these impressions into his own unique interpretations.
An inveterate collector, he was constantly filtering inspiration through his psyche to create a wide range of distinctive designs that are iconic and contemporary even today. Matégot founded two workshops named the Société Mategot, one in Paris and one in Casablanca, Morocco. From these locales, he manufactured up to 200 items in limited numbers until 1959 when he ceased production to work on tapestry for the remainder of his career.
Kristalia Reintroduces the 1085 Edition Chair
Kristalia is brining back the 1085 Edition chair, a fashion-forward creation by Bartoli Design that owes its good looks to haute couture. The natural hide seat was made using a technique developed by Presot, a company that produces soles for leading Italian designer-label shoes. The visible stitching that has become a hallmark of the company’s products is an explicit reference to that world. The wooden legs come in three finishes and the hide is available in a natural finish only. The time-honored process used to create it sets its feet fashionably in the past but its supple seat sits securely in the present with its tie-rod device that helps it maintain the perfect tension over time, even with the softening of the natural hide.
Founded by Carlo Bartoli in 1960, Bartoli is a multidisciplinary family-owned company. An educated architect, he taught at the Advanced Course of Industrial Design in Florence and Rome, and at the Milan Politechnic University. He was also a frequent lecturer at the Torino Politechnic University. Works by Carlo Bartoli have exhibited at the Triennale Design Museum in Milan, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Stadt Museum in Cologne, and venues in New York, Prague, Hong Kong, Athens and Buenos Aires. His Gaia armchair is included in the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York and the Triennale in Milan. The Pompidou Center in Paris has exhibited the 4875, and the maestro was named an Apostle of Design in 2012.
The company continues his legacy and the success of this is showing, as the products produced by the Bartoli team has won the XXI Compasso d’Oro ADI award for the R606Uno chair; an IF Award for Good Industrial Design for the Tube sofa; and the Breeze armchair has been tapped for an I.D. Design Distinction Award, the Apex Product Design Award, the Red Dot and the IF Award for Good Industrial Design. It was also printed on a series of postage stamps produced in Italy to celebrate “Masters of Italian Design.”
Design Letters & Friends Presents Two Sides of Arne Jacobsen
Arne Jacobsen’s furniture designs for Copenhagen’s SAS Royal Hotel, which was built in 1960, have become indisputable classics. Design Letters & Friends debuted a number of accessories from the hotel at Maison & Objet—lesser known than his Egg and Swan chairs, which he designed for the hotel, perhaps, though equally destined for timelessness. This new AJ Royal Vintage Collection includes an egg-shaped vase, which Jacobsen designed for the restaurant and bar area, and a throw in a geometric pattern, the design taken from the carpet on the second floor of the hotel. The vases are made of painted steel and come in green and black, and the throw is made of 100% Baby Alpaca wool.
Jacobsen has long been a giant of Danish design and architecture, and he is still celebrated more than 30 years after his death as one of the superstars of mid-century modern design. This makes it surprising that he maintained a relatively small studio staff, as does the number and scope of the projects he tackled during his career. He is one of those visionaries who considers every detail in the total design of the building, down to the silverware. I didn’t realize that Jacobsen actually wanted to be a painter, a desire that is evident in his drawings and watercolors of buildings.
The Dane began traveling in his twenties, his first voyage to New York. His gaze would continue to stray abroad but he never abandoned Denmark or the Danish traditions he grew up appreciating. He was known for his sense of humor and a self-deprecation, which was evident in his drafts and hand-drawn Christmas cards created for close friends. His desire to play the clown never waned and throughout adulthood, he would wear zany belts or would show up wearing a hollowed-out melon for a hat. I love these personable details from the profile on the site dedicated to his legacy, and I’ve only scratched the surface of what is there if you’d like to know more about this major force in international design whose design provenance lives on.
Text of Design Provenance: Timeless Talent Redux © design blogger Saxon Henry, all rights reserved. Saxon Henry is an author, poet and journalist based in New York City. Books include Anywhere But Here, Stranded on the Road to Promise and Four Florida Moderns. She also maintains The Diary of an Improvateur as a platform for her literary travel and design adventuring, and is a contributor to Architizer.