compassion, collaboration & cooperation iN transistion
I cannot but draw the comparison between
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 bought up
Mothercare, Heal's and British Home Stores, and took his eye off his first-born."
Founded in New York City in 1938 by Hans Knoll
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."
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