As an Italian Sculptor, University Lecturer and Furniture Designer, Harry Bertoia is a name synonymous with art and new forms in the industry. His most notable design have to be his series of wire chairs. He is the first in the industry to utilize bent industrial wire rods to form a chair and the results were surprisingly good. Like Magis’ Stool_One, this is a piece of seemingly uncomfortable chair with a lattice of metal rods supporting your seated body rather than soft foam and comfortable upholsteries. There is no doubt about its strength and durability given its metallic construction. Bertoia described his series of wire chairs as “mainly made of air, like sculpture” and how “Space passes through them”.
How could one dispute his words when the free-flowing organic grid of the chairs minimizes visual obstructions and allows the eyes to see through them? As a matter of fact, the wire chairs looks very much like the 3D models used in computer modelling software without the texture being applied. This highlights the chairs’ bare minimal form and in my opinion, it shows the chair’s true form. This is the artistic part which I am very fond of. 2 designs particularly interests me: the Diamond Lounge and the Asymmetric Chaise. Let’s start with the Diamond Lounge.
Intriguing Details – Admire the Pretty Curves
Designed in 1952 for Knoll, the Diamond Lounge Chair looks to be a blooming flower with outspread pedals. The deep sitting position provides comfortable lounging. Although the Diamond Lounge Chair is nowhere near the comfort of another famous non-upholstered chair, Eameses’ Lounge Chair Wood, it holds its place fairly well. At least, I can say that it is much more comfortable than the Magis’ Chair_One/Stool_One. I had a sit at the Magis Chair_One and Stool_One last weekend and it was disappointingly uncomfortable. My guess is that the Diamond Lounge have more evenly distributed support points to relief the pressure of the body weight while the irregular skeletal strips of the Chair_One/Stool_One (although larger), caused some pressure points to be more focused, causing discomfort. But this is just my 2 cents’ worth and not because of any scientific researches.
The Diamond Lounge is good for even Outdoors!
Next, we come to the Asymmetric Chaise designed in 1950s, but was never produced beyond prototype stage until 2004 when a prototype was sold in an auction for a cool US$110,000. The Asymmetric Chaise’s irregular lines expresses different possible sitting positions in a unique manner. Probably, nobody would have known how to sit in the Asymmetric Chaise just by looking at it, me included. But this is what attracted me to this unique chaise (my wife excluded :(. I have no doubt about its comfort after trying the Diamond Lounge. However, what holds me back from the possibility of getting this Chaise Lounge are again, 2 things: La Chaise and Maintenance. Looking at the market, I am probably be getting an apartment with sufficient space to hold just one Chaise Lounge in my Bedroom. That means that I can either get the La Chaise or the Asymmetric Chaise. Both Chaise Lounges are equally sculptural. While Bertoia’s creation looks more unique, Eame’s La Chaise beats it in comfort with its single-shell form. The other consideration which probably made my decision easier is maintenance. The numerous wire rods in the Asymmetric Chaise gives me nightmares on cleaning. On top of that, I wonder how cold the wire rods can get if I placed it in an air-conditioned room. 🙂 Of course, to address these comfort and maintenance issues, there are always the upholstered versions. But I felt that the beauty of the wire chairs are robbed by the upholsteries.
This is how you sit in a Asymmetric Lounge
Although I love these two pieces of sculptures, I may find difficulty in placing one in my home. This is because of the Design Theme that I am looking at. I would try to minimize Steel/Chrome elements in the house as Minimalism already creates a cold environment which I plan to mitigate with Wood. It will make more sense to put a Carl Hansen CH07 Shell Chair or a Herman Miller LCW in the place of a Knoll Diamond Lounge to add that all important warmth to the home.