Alessandro Mendini
Armchair "Proust" by Alessandro Mendini
2000

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About

The "Proust" armchair, with hand-carved and hand-painted wooden frame, is upholstered with fixed multicolor fabric matching the colors of the structure. It is a re-edition of one of the historic pieces of contemporary Italian design.

The chair is the most famous design by Italian designer Alessandro Mendini, a highly influential champion of design in the 1980s.

In 1978, with the “Proust” chair, Mendini programmatically began a furniture series of so-called “redesigns” in which he reinterpreted the shape and ornamentation of existing designs that were typical of their day. Two years previously, he had begun work on a fabric pattern for Cassina which was to be a reflection on French author Marcel Proust. While researching the upper-middle-class environment associated with Proust, Mendini came across a copy of a chair in the Neo-Baroque style of 18th century France.

Inspired by this discovery, he expanded the fabric project to yield a furniture design. He covered the chair completely with a colorful swarm of dots which reproduced an enlarged section of a Pointillist painting by Paul Signac. Impressionism, which attempted to recreate the atmospheric appearance of nature through painting, was highly valued by Proust, and its presence here is a reference to the author and his time. However, by equally painting all parts of the chair, irrespective of their structure and purpose, Mendini succeeds in citing not only Impressionism, but also the Baroque, using the infinite as a central motif.

Impressionist painting and the Baroque are imitated and trivialized in the pattern of the “Poltrona di Proust,” turning the chair into a flickering vision imbued with meaning. The armchair was originally conceived as the only one of its kind, but variations were later manufactured by Mendini’s studio and Cappellini as individual pieces or in limited editions.

Details

  • Condition
    Excellent. Note: There is a small separation along the joint on the top left side of the wood frame which can be easily restored. .
  • Dimensions
    43 in. H x 41 in. W x 36.5 in. D
  • Seller Location
    New York, NY
  • Reference Number
    LU2122201203
About the Seller

1stdibs seller since 2013

Typical response time: 1 hour

Located in New York, NY

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