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 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
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."
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