November 19, 2023

Commemorating Anniversaries of 20th Century Design Masterpieces

Author: Radmila Durasinovic
Tags: Design Category: magazine

Commemorating Anniversaries of 20th Century Design Masterpieces

This year has been dominated by retrospectives: from interior design trends embracing the nostalgic charm of the 70s and 80s, to numerous reissues and limited editions releases of iconic furniture pieces. 2023 also marks significant anniversaries for enduring designs by the likes of Eero Saarinen, Alvar Aalto, Carlo Scarpa among others. These classic pieces have not only stood the test of time as well-designed, functionally and aesthetically enduring objects, but have also achieved iconic status in society over the years. In this article, we raise a toast to some of the most celebrated designs of the previous century as they mark important milestones, reflecting on both their evolution and the lasting impact they've left on the contemporary design landscape.

Palazzo Broggi during 'Echoes, 50 years of iMaestri' exhibition © Agostino Osio

50 years of the iMaestri Collection / Cassina

Cassina commemorated the 50th anniversary of its iMaestri Collection with the exhibition 'Echoes, 50 years of iMaestri' at Palazzo Broggi during this year’s Milan Design Week. Curated by Patricia Urquiola and Federica Sala, the event, held in a contemporary industrial setting within the historic palazzo, showcased Cassina's distinctive approach to editing classic designs while championing authenticity and design culture. 'Echoes' reflects on Cassina's five-decade journey in the industrial development of furniture designed by renowned architects of the modern movement.

'Echoes, 50 years of iMaestri' exhibition © Mattia Balsamini

The upcoming book 'Echoes,' edited by Ivan Mietton, a former curator at the Centre Pompidou in Paris and published by Rizzoli, is slated for release in February of 2024. The book highlights the company's innovative technological developments while respecting the original designs, showcasing encounters with renowned Italian architects such as Franco Albini, Gio Ponti, and Carlo Scarpa.

Maralunga Sofa © Cassina

Furthermore, Cassina recently expanded the collection to include designs by Vico Magistretti, Gio Ponti, and Carlo Scarpa. Gio Ponti's contribution is an elegant wooden chair, while Carlo Scarpa's limited edition Doge Laguna table pays homage to Venetian glassmaking. The Maralunga sofa by Vico Magistretti, also celebrating its 50th anniversary, receives a special edition in red nubuck leather. Top of Form

Togo Sofa © Ligne Roset

50 years of Togo Sofa / Ligne Roset

The Togo sofa, introduced by Ligne Roset in 1973 and designed by Michel Ducaroy, has over time become a symbol of the brand. Termed a "brutalist sofa" and a "social icon," the Togo draws inspiration from Ducaroy's vision of a "tube of toothpaste folded on itself like a tuba." With a form characterised by a demonstrable comfort, the Togo's unconventional design—marked by the absence of a base and armrests—initially challenged conventions but ultimately garnered widespread recognition and acclaim.

Togo - 50th Anniversary Limited Edition with Atom upholstery © Ligne Roset

To celebrate its 50th anniversary, the French brand introduced two limited edition reinterpretations of the iconic sofa. Atom, envisioned by Belgian fashion designer Raf Simons for Kvadrat is inspired by expressionist paintings, with contrasting speckles dispersed randomly across its surface, while La Toile du Peintre by Pierre Frey imbues the Togo sofa with a large graphic pattern inspired by painter Heather Chontos.

Dialogo © Tacchini

50 years of Dialogo /Tacchini

Designed in 1973 by Tobia Scarpa, Dialogo is a chair distinguished by its rectangular frame with rounded edges and meticulous joints. To celebrate its 50th anniversary, Tacchini reissued this iconic chair as an homage to the timeless lines that define "Dialogo", honouring the design legacy of Tobia Scarpa with a piece that marks the perfect synthesis of elegance and rationality found throughout his work.

Stool 60 © Artek

90 years of Stool 60 / Artek

Alvar Aalto's Stool 60 gained renown due to his innovative method for crafting its distinctive legs, utilizing saw cuts, glue-infused wooden pieces, and heat-induced bending. This technique replaced complex handcrafted joints, making it easier for mass production. Stool 60's enduring appeal lies in its versatility, serving as a seat, table, storage unit, or display surface and easy stackability for space efficiency. Each stool develops a unique character over time, aging gracefully with a rich patina, contributing to its timeless charm.

Decades exhibition © Artek

As part of the 90th anniversary celebrations of Stool 60, Artek held the "Decades" exhibition from 11 May to 15 September of this year. The exhibit showcased a diverse collection of Stool 60s spanning various decades, providing a retrospective of this timeless design.

Womb Chair © Knoll

75 years of Womb / Knoll

One of Eero Saarinen’s most iconic designs, this year the Womb chair from 1948 celebrates its 75th anniversary as a revolutionary and enduring piece of modern design. It was made on Florence Knoll’s request, who imagined the piece of furniture as “a chair that was like a basket full of pillows…something I could really curl up in.” Inspired by a shipbuilder who experimented with fiberglass and resin in New Jersey, the Womb Chair took on its distinctive form, ample armrests, and a sweeping backrest. Handmade for the past 75 years, the Womb chair's recognisable design and commitment to unbounded comfort have made it a timeless and ubiquitous presence in homes and workplaces.

Lava Lamp © Mathmos

60 years of the Lava Lamp / Mathmos

The Lava lamp was created in 1963 when Edward Craven Walker was inspired by a homemade egg timer. Over the years, the Lava lamp became a symbol of counterculture and psychedelia, embraced by cultural figures like the Beatles and David Bowie.

Lava Lamp designed by Duran Duran © Duran Duran

To mark the 60th anniversary, Mathmos released limited-edition lamps designed by artists Duran Duran, Rankin, and Sabine Marcelis. Duran Duran's rendition is a stylish lamp in silver and pink featuring their distinctive signature, and these exclusive editions are anticipated to be highly sought-after by collectors.

La Chaise © Vitra

La Chaise / Vitra

La Chaise, designed by Charles and Ray Eames in 1948 for a low-cost furniture competition, responded to postwar housing needs for cheap furniture. Although it didn't win, the chair received recognition for its elegant shape and innovative fiberglass construction. La Chaise's name is a play on words, describing its function and alluding to sculptor Gaston Lachaise's work. In celebration of its 75th anniversary, Vitra released a special edition in fiberglass with an oiled walnut base, limited to seventy-five pieces worldwide. This edition is part of the Eames Special Collection 2023, featuring updated pieces with new finishes and colors.

November 19, 2023 Author: Radmila Durasinovic
Tags: Design Category: magazine
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