Modern Classics are timeless pieces designed in the mid-century period by Masters recognized today as legends. To many fans of Modern Classics, products designed by these highly revered Masters could not be equaled, let alone being surpassed. Many manufacturers don’t even attempt this feat. Many chose reinterpretations of Modern Classics, taking design cues from these classic pieces and acknowledging them openingly to avoid being shot down as works of plagiarism or lack of creativity. Sometimes, works of wonders do appear once a while that equals works of these Masters. I would not want to describe it as surpassing standards.
The chair which I will be making this comparison is the Harmony Chair which made its debut during the Salone del Mobile Milano 2012. Designed by Rodrigo Torres for Poliform, the Harmony chair is described as a “marriage of chaos and order in a symbolic relationship, full of expression and rhythm”. I like this description which I find apt for the Harmony. So, where is the order and where is the chaos? Take a look at the wooden seat of the chair and you will find a bucket seat that is contoured to look soft but sophisticated look. This is not where the ingenuity is. The ingenuity comes from the metal rod legs which I will be discussing shortly where order and chaos co-exist on the same space and line.
Pan your viewpoint upwards and the chaos disappear with order in place.
Here is where chaos work its wonders in design. If you look at the metal rod legs of the Harmony, you will find complexity in the design and construction. It looks like a mesh of twisted metal and yet, it has a constant shape. In the chaos of the twisted legs, here we find order. When you move your viewing angle from the side to the top, the complex metal rod legs become partially obscured with only the linear legs in view which shows none of the chaotic lines. This metal rod leg design works with the wooden seat to create the order of the chair. With mat lacquer optional for both the veneered seat and stainless steel legs, it also mean a great number of colour combinations being made available, making it highly adaptable to the settings it will be used in. A truly contemporary piece.
Why did I mention the comparisons to Modern Classics? The subject of comparison with the Harmony Chair is the famed Eames Molded Plastic Side Chair. It is the obvious and inevitable for the metal rod legs in the Harmony to be compared against the Eames Side Chair. The twisted metal rod legs are reminiscence of the Eiffel Legs of the Eames Plastic Side Chair. Both chairs have contoured seats although one is made from veneer while the other of molded plastic. If I compare the Eames Plastic Chair with Dowel Legs against the Harmony Chair, both are equal in my opinion. However, if we are to looks at the Eiffel Legs of the Eames Plastic Chair vs the Harmony Chair, I’m afraid my money will be on the Harmony Chair for its deep design philosophy. Great job there by Rodrigo Torres.