Posts tagged #mid century furniture

Italy has a new museum: The Museum of 20th Century Italian Design

A new permanent collection opened it’s doors in Milan. Italy has finally it’s own museum of Italian Design. It seemed odd for a country whose creativity and mission to make beautiful things that were also functional and accessible to the average person and simplified the life of millions of people in the past 70 years did not have a proper representation. It is important for Mid Century dealers like us to have a place to gather, to research, to discover and maybe that place is shaping up right in our country. 

Today we can all admire the most representative works of Mid Century Italian design at the Triennale Museum in Milan, a permanent exhibition showcasing objects designed between the 1940s and the 1980s by the biggest Italian architects of the period. The selection includes furniture, household appliances, and small objects from the 20th Century, products made for every day use, and it represents only a small fraction of the 1600 pieces owned by the Triennale Milan.

The Italian Design Museum debuted on the occasion of Milano Design Week 2019. The project has been developed by  Stefano Boeri, President of the Triennale Milano under the artistic direction of Joseph Grima, and it is housed in the ground floor. We can’t wait to see it growing even more, as President Mr Boeri said the Triennale Museum's goal is to become “the leading international centre dedicated to Italian Deisign”. Whether it will be centered on Mid Century or Modern Design, we are very excited about the future. 20th Century Design deserves to play a major role considering its’ comeback and it’s easy integration with modern design, yet after more than 50 years has passed. 

This exhibition, is like a time capsule through objects which some might recognize as familiar, we picked quite a few we could have had at home at a certain point in our life. The memories are brought back through the objects themselves and through several supporting media such as old catalogs and paper ads; Furthermore, you can hear directly from the designers voices the ideas behind most objects; they will talk to the audience through ‘Grillo’ telephones (designed in 1965 by Marco Zanuso and Richard Sapper), if you can still remember how to dia the numbers! 

Through this exhibition you can really walk through time and see how differen materials and designs changed through the years, you can also discover the intimate relationship theses 20th Century designers shared with their products and their sponsors, the difficult tasks they had to overcome through a series of highs and lows and rights and wrongs, and you can finally smile looking at the finished products proudly showcased on the page of a design magazine of that period.   

Triennale Milano is housed by Palazzo dell’Arte in Viale Emilio Alemagna no. 6  You can find all of the information by visiting their website at 

www.triennale.org 

History in design: Regent Sofa by Marco Zanuso, 1960


The Regent sofa collection by Marco Zanuso, designed for Arflex in 1960 represents one the most coveted design piece of the 20th Century together with the Lady Armchair by the same designer. Our set is unique and rare, and features a three seater sofa with matching armchair on castors completely reupholstered in a luxurious Italian leather.  Our team of restorers worked for months on the sofa and armchair to restore these beautiful pieces of design exactly as it originally were conceived. We selected one of the best available leather on the market in a lovely dove color suitable for most home designs. This leather is soft to the touch and highly resistant, comes from European Cattle chrome tanned and full grain finished one of the most expensive of the collection of suitable leathers. 

Our Italian restorers  reproduced every single detail, the vertical stitchings of the back in contrast with the horizontal lines of the seat cushions, the buttons, the line of the bases and so on. You might find some other Regent sofas available on the web here and there, but none of it matches the beautiful details and finishes of our Regent set. 

Regent Sofa - Marco Zanuso, Arflex 1960

Marco Zanuso is a great Italian designer considered to be one of the founding fathers of Italian Industrial Design which brought a revolution in the way Italians lived and perceived every day objects in the 50s and 60s. With great architects and designers from the BBPR offices such as Franco Albini, Pier Giacomo and Achille Castiglioni and Marcello Nizzoli he contributed to the development of the modern movement in the architecture and design field. 

He was one of the first architect to explore the use of industrial materials in design objects conceived for mass consumption and everyday use. 

our Regent armchair while under restoration 

Marco Zanuso is a great Italian designer considered to be one of the founding fathers of Italian Industrial Design which brought a revolution in the way Italians lived and perceived every day objects in the 50s and 60s. With great architects and designers from the BBPR offices such as Franco Albini, Pier Giacomo and Achille Castiglioni and Marcello Nizzoli he contributed to the development of the modern movement in the architecture and design field. 

He was one of the first architect to explore the use of industrial materials in design objects conceived for mass consumption and everyday use. 

He was director of Domus magazine and Casabella and founding member of the ADI. In 1948 Pirelli created Arflex a manufacturer to produce seating furniture made of foam rubber and industrial material applied to home furniture. Zanies was appointed responsible for the design of this furniture and did not disappoint. 

He won many awards such as 7 Compasso d’Oro awards and his products are exhibited in modern art museums around the world. 

 

In 1960 he designed this exquisite seating collection named Regent, starting with the lounge chair on castors and the matching ottoman. We loved this design for many years and fought to find a sofa and armchair until we scoretwo pieces we were sure would be an amazing designercollector set to own. Like a precious painting or a unique antique car, these pieces are one of a kind and timeless, a milestone in Italian design. 

Our job is to find authentic and unique Mid Century Italian furniture pieces, restore them while keeping their original details intact and bring them back to life. 20th Century Italian Modern Design, a collection of sofas, chairs, storage pieces from the Italian Mid Century Period

 

 

Mid Century modern Italian design: The master supremacy of Italy's creations.


A talk with our senior purchasing manager about love, history and beauty of Italian Design.

 

In the course of my career I often find myself answering the same recurring question from my customers- how is it possible that Italians are so great in making amazing furniture? We all know Italian design and creativity is known worldwide but still most people can’t come to terms with this sort of supremacy. I often thought of a simple way to explain this very thin line between beauty and functionality which Italians are able to master at their best.

 The most simple product may be functional but not necessarily meet that aesthetic taste most people seek. Italian design is able to immediately come to terms with these two important factors and blend them effortlessly almost in a seamless way.  There is an explanation, after all, and it is found in the history of our country, Italy, a history which goes way back and prior to the birth of Jesus Christ. 

Like music and art, Italian design has centuries old deep historical and social roots. Italians have lived in a country where everything was already established, constructed and built over the ages and therefore our approach to construction and, more specifically, function was not a prisoner of bare-bone necessity.  Instead, it had latitude and an allowance to be driven by passion for a sense of aesthetic where “beauty” could be reached by going beyond the daily humdrum and routine.  Let’s just think for a moment: since centuries Italians have been educated in aesthetics. They lived in a country where roads were already there, and bridges, aqueducts, big buildings, theaters, museums. Our predecessors built all of those with the intention for us to use them, and thankfully most of them are still in use nowadays. In our history, the great Papacies were funding big public and private works and the wealthy families where hiring sculptors, painters, and artists to embellish their castles and their cities and public spaces. These artists not only exploited aesthetical boundaries but bound them with a sense of functionality that our predecessors, the Romans, already refined.  This is why we have this sense of beauty in our background because we live in it, daily. It’s like having a piano teacher father and an opera singer mother and end up making music the purpose of your life. It’s the country itself, Italy, to make Italians a country of builders and visionaries. Think about this country and its natural wonders, a country which lacks in oil or coal but has always been rich in marbles and travertine natural materials which are perfect for constructions. And think about its landscapes, which are the canvas for magnificent inspiration by the most acclaimed international artists of all times.  

It is with this backdrop that we can come to better understand the roots of the post war mid century Italian design.  A credenza was not just a box to hold dishes and similarly, a sofa was not just a few cushions and a wood frame on which to sit. They had to be more, they had to tell a story, they had to embellish and accentuate the surrounding environment or, at times, they just had to float and disappear into that environment but, above all, they had to be pieces of art standing on their own right. At the root of this focus on form was the fact that most post-war designers were architects by training or highly specialized artisans and craftsmen.  In some cases these designers were cross fertilizing design innovations across industries – be that the automobile industry, furnishings, appliances, graphics etc.   So the end result of this cross fertilization and emphasis on design was the advent of the ‘Made in Italy’ label reflecting a centuries old cultural emphasis on design and quality across multiple products. Unfortunately with the advent of globalization, mass production and the constant search for production efficiencies a lot of this has been lost over the years.  Even Italy and its culture is subject to these new realities, but for those of us who have an admiration for the creative spirit of those times,  the products of Buffa, Ponti, Borsani, Zanuso, Vignellis, are magnificent standard bearers of the true essence of ‘Made in Italy’.

Mid Century Italian modern design: Restoring Mid Century Italian furniture to its original beauty


Through our dedicated work and our continuous collaboration with a team of Italian restorers base in Northern Italy, we carefully restore each piece to bring it back to life again. Ready to fulfill your home.

midcentury-Italian-furniture-restoration

A Message from our team of Italian restorers:

 “For over three generations our family has been restoring antique furniture as well as 'modernariato'- otherwise know as mid-century modern. To this day, we are still very passionate in our efforts to maintain the same standards of craftsmanship of the original manufacturers when restoring these little works of art. 

In our restoration projects we use no industrial machinery, almost all our tools are the very same ones used at the original time of manufacture and throughout the process we follow the original furniture makers' methodology- down to the final layer of varnishing and lacquering.

Although our pieces may appear 'new' after a restoration project, our paramount concern is to maintain the original integrity of the piece as dictated by the designer and manufacturer.  With the exception of  parts that are beyond repair and may impede every day use - locks, handles and padding- we substitute no parts. And, because we believe every piece has a history and a life story to tell, we leave the smallest imperfections to remind you. 

In the studio - Mid Century Italian design - Art deco Furniture - dining table 

In the studio - Mid Century Italian design - Art deco Furniture - dining table 

 
Art Deco armchair - restoration in progress

Art Deco armchair - restoration in progress

 

We outsource and import authentic Italian mid Century modern design, pieces from architects and designers such as Paolo Buffa, Osvaldo Bersani, Gio Ponti, Cini Boeri, Marco Zanuso, Franco Albini and many more. Mid Century Italian furniture restored in Italy and ready for your home. Collector pieces and one of a kind ones.