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compassion, collaboration & cooperation iN transistion

I cannot but draw the comparison between

the demise of ZAADZ and that of HABITAT

As Lydia Slater has reported in today's Mail Online article -

"To celebrate Habitat's 40th anniversary in 2004, he persuaded a gang
of modern '
achievers' to come up with their own designs.

Actor Ewan McGregor created a comfy director's chair, model Helena

Christensen designed a flower table lamp, shoe designer Manolo Blahnik

made a shoehorn in the shape of a stiletto heel, and novelist Louis de Bernieres

produced a bookcase. 

While the Habitat store remained a reflection of Conran's own unerring taste,

it left its rivals trailing. But Conran wanted to expand his empire. So he bough

t up Mothercare, Heal's and British Home Stores, and took his eye o ff his


Founded in New York City in 1938 by Hans Knoll

and later run by his wife, Florencethe Knoll

brand  has come to be known as one of the

world's foremost suppliers of contemporary and

classic 20th century designer furniture. Bertoia

began his collaboration with Knoll soon after the

war, after an impressive career in the arts and

sciences. He began in his small workshop in

Bally, Pennsylvania. At first he produced a

number of variations on his earlier sculpture but

soon the sculpture began to suggest new forms

for chairs and new methods of manufacture.

His world famous wire chairs were the result and

The Bertoia Collection was introduced by Knoll in 1952. I remember well the 

Harry Bertoia collection from the Exhibition in Paris during 1972 and was

suitably impressed that the diamond chair was Douglas Harding's favourite. 

Since its own beginnings over two

decades ago, The Conran Shop has

been proud to stock the most iconic

as well as some of the more quirky

and original pieces such as this side

chair designed by Bertoia - the very

same chair referenced in the Mail

Online article but nevertheless still

available at much greater cost -

unless, of course, you opt

for one of the examples of the

quality reproductions which have

become available since the patent on the original design presumably lapsed

- an option that Harry Bertoia would no no doubt have been happy to support. 

Bertoia said of his work:

"In the sculpture I am concerned primarily with space, form and the 

characteristics of metal. In the chairs many functional problems have to be 

established first ... but when you get down to it, the chairs are studies in space,

form and metal too. Everybody is a specialist now. I am trying to take in as much

of the world as I can ... I try to find out as much as possible about anything I do

... and sometimes the thing I think has no purpose at all, like my sculpture,

turns out to be very useful.

My approach to design is to make the environment more pleasant
& varied by merging the efforts of technology and the creative arts

First posted by Michael Grove on June 27, 2011 at 20:30


Views: 103

Comment by Michael Grove on June 16, 2014 at 17:40

Pope Francis has called for a “culture of solidarity” to replace the

selfishness and individualism” prevailing in modern society today.

He went on to say ...

no one can remain insensitive to the inequalities that persist in the world

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