Architect Zaha Hadid designed this sofa for B&B Italia.
B&B ITALIA PROFILE
B&B Italia has been founded in 1966.
It has its headquarter in Novedrate in the Como province of Italia.
Its offices are in a building designed by Renzo Piano in 1972.
It has turned from a family-run small-scale business into a company with separate divisions for design, manufacturing and sales. The Company has two branches: B&B Italia Home Division and B&B Italia Contract Division.
About Zaha Hadid
Zaha Hadid is an architect who consistently pushes the boundaries of architecture and urban design. Her work ranges from urban scale to interiors and furniture.
Best known for:
– Vitra Fire Station
– Land Formation-One
– Innsbruck Bergisel Ski-Jump
– Strasbourg Tram Station
– Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art in Cincinnati
– BMW Central Building in Leipzig
– Hotel Puerta America (interior) in Madrid
– Ordrupgaard Museum Extension in Copenhagen, and
– Phaeno Science Center in Wolfsburg.
Her central concerns involve a simultaneous engagement in practice, teaching and research. Hadid was born in Bagdad in 1950. She studied architecture at the Architectural Association from 1972 and was awarded the Diploma Prize in 1977. She then became a partner of the Office for Metropolitan Architecture, taught at the AA with OMA collaborators Rem Koolhaas and Elia Zenghelis, and later led her own studio at the AA until 1987. Since then she held the Kenzo Tange Chair at the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University; the Sullivan Chair at the University of Illinois, School of Architecture, Chicago; guest professorships at the Hochschule fÃ…Â¸r Bildende KÃ…Â¸nste in Hamburg; the Knolton School of Architecture, Ohio and the Masters Studio at Columbia University, New York. In addition, she was made Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Fellow of the American Institute of Architecture and Commander of the British Empire, 2002. She is currently Professor at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, Austria and was the Eero Saarinen Visiting Professor of Architectural Design at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.
See further for an impression of her work this YouTube impression:
Claes Oldenburg (Klahss Old-en-burg) bio:
Claes Oldenburg was born January 28, 1929, in Stockholm, Sweden, but spent most of his childhood in the United States. After studies at Yale University and the Art Institute of Chicago, he moved to New York City in 1956, where he established himself in the early 1960s with a series of installations and performances influenced by his surroundings on the Lower East Side.
Oldenburg’s initial interest in constructing environments such as The Street (1960), The Store (1961), and Bedroom Ensemble (1963) soon evolved into a concentration on single sculptures. Using ordinary, everyday objects as his form of expression, he went on to develop “soft” sculpture and fantastic proposals for civic monuments. In 1969, Oldenburg took up fabrication on a large scale with Lipstick (Ascending) on Caterpillar Tracks, which became a controversial focus for student protest when it was installed on the Yale campus, followed in 1976 by Clothespin for downtown Philadelphia. Since 1976 he has worked in partnership with Coosje van Bruggen. Together they have executed over forty Large-Scale Projects, which have been inserted into various urban surroundings in Europe, Asia, and the United States. Their most recent work is the 144-foot-long, 64-foot-high Cupid’s Span for Rincon Park on the Embarcadero in San Francisco.
Coosje van Bruggen (Koh-shuh vahn Bruh-guhn) bio:
Born in Groningen, the Netherlands, on June 6, 1942, Coosje van Bruggen received a master’s degree in art history from the University of Groningen. From 1967 to 1971 she worked in the curatorial department of the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and was co-editor of the catalogue of Sonsbeek 71, an exhibition of contemporary sculpture held in Park Sonsbeek, Arnhem, and other sites throughout the Netherlands. Van Bruggen was a member of the selection committee for Documenta 7 in Kassel, Germany (1982); a contributor to Artforum (1983-88); and Senior Critic in the Department of Sculpture at Yale University School of Art (1996-97). She has also authored books on Claes Oldenburg’s early work and on John Baldessari, Hanne Darboven, Bruce Nauman, and the architect Frank O. Gehry, among others. Van Bruggen’s first collaboration with Claes Oldenburg was in 1976, when Trowel I, originally shown at Sonsbeek 71, was rebuilt and relocated in the sculpture garden of the KrÃƒÂ¶ller-MÃƒÂ¼ller Museum in Otterlo, the Netherlands. In 1978 van Bruggen moved to New York, where she continued to work with Oldenburg to establish direct contact with a wider audience by creating large-scale, site-specific works in urban settings. Their collaboration has extended to smaller-scale park and garden sculptures as well as to indoor installations.
Balancing Tools was commissioned by German chair manufacturer Vitra International AG. On the photo you see the sculpture against a background of the Vitra Design museum by Canadian Architect Frank Gehry. Vitra itself explains it as follows:
Following a major fire which destroyed a large part of the factory in the 80ies, British architect Nicholas Grimshaw was commissioned to build a new factory hall. His high-tech architecture was considered to be in keeping with the vision of Vitra as an enterprise synonymous with technical excellence. After completing the building, Grimshaw was commissioned to develop a masterplan for the entire site.
This idea of a “Corporate Identity Architecture” was, however, called into question by the “Balancing Tools” sculpture by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen.
“Balancing Tools” triggered off an entirely new architectural concept: Vitra decided to have the buildings on its site on a range of contrasting styles. It commissioned new buildings from different architects, each responsible for a specific need. Vitra’s architectural philosophy is aimed at countering the desolate dreariness associated with traditional trading estates.
I hope the answer is clear:
Two artists / designers (one of whom is a Dutch Lady) make a venerable Chair Manufacturer rethink his policy regarding who to commission as architects for the design of the buildings on its site.
This story makes it clear how much influence design can have.
Finally i would like to add that Het Stedelijk Museum of Amsterdam (Amsterdam Municipal Museum) has a large collection of designer chairs. It even published a book about its collection. So Coosje will know of that collection although her area of interest seems more focused on sculpture.
Stam is the designer of the first cantilever tubular chair. On 22 November 1926 he showed a sketch with a blue pen of it on the back side of the wedding announcement of the German painter Willy Baumeister at a dinner party in the Stuttgart hotel Marquart. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was at that dinner Party. Presently this wedding announcement is reportedly in the Mies van der Rohe archive of MoMa, NYC.
The first producer of this chair is the German company Lorenz.
In 1927 both Mart Stam and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe showed their versions of this idea in their respective houses of the Weissenhofsiedlung project in Stuttgart.
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Mentions only the design in 1929 of the Barcelona chair (also cantilevered but with flat steel, rather than tubular)
Mentions the design of a steel tubular chair in 1925 for Wassily Kandinsky, hence known as the Wassily chair that still is in production.
In the late 1920s, Breuer and Stam were involved in a patent lawsuit in German courts, both claiming to be the inventor of the basic cantilever chair design principle. Stam won the lawsuit, and, since that time, specific Breuer chair designs have often been erroneously attributed to Stam. In the United States, Breuer assigned the rights to his designs to Knoll, and for that reason it is possible to find the identical chair attributed to Stam in Europe and to Breuer in the U.S.
Lilly and Mies
Through her involvement with the Werkbund Lilly Reich also met Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe. In 1926 she moved from Frankfurt to Berlin to work with Mies. She was Van Der Rohe’s personal and professional partner for 13 years from 1925 until his emigration to the US in 1938. It is said that they were constant companions, working together on curating and implementing exhibitions for the Werkbund, as well as designing modern furniture as part of larger architectural commissions such as the Barcelona Pavilion in 1929 and the Tugendhat House in Brno.
Two of their best known modern furniture designs from this period are the Barcelona chair and Brno Chair.
Albert Pheiffer, Vice President of Design and Management at Knoll, has been researching and lecturing on Reich for some time. He points out that:
“It became more than a coincidence that Mies’s involvement and success in exhibition design began at the same time as his personal relationship with Reich.”
“It is interesting to note that Mies did not fully develop any contemporary furniture successfully before or after his collaboration with Reich”.
When Mies Van der Rohe became the director of the Bauhaus School of design and architecture in 1930, Lilly Reich joined him there as one of the only female teachers. Reich taught interior design and furniture design until the late 1930s.
1925-28: became head of the furniture department of Bauhaus Dessau.
1925: Designed the first tubular steel chair B5 and a tubular steel ottomans.
This post is subject to some updates in the future.
Added May 23rd, 2007:
A page of:
Avant-Garde Design and the Law: Litigation over the Cantilever Chair
an article by Otakar Macel in the
Journal of Design History, Vol. 3, No. 2/3 (1990), pp. 125-143
Oxford University Press
at Jstor, a University related retrieval system at this link: Avant Garde Design and the Law sustains the Dutch Wiki version.
The German Thonet Factory has a Bauhaus overview where the design of several chairs is attributed to Marcel Breuer and the Artistic Copyright to Dutch Chair designer Mart Stam, which is probably close to the outcome of the German litigation.