Post Modern "Mandarin" Chair by Ettore Sottsass for Knoll
About the Item
- Dimensions:Height: 32 in (81.28 cm)Width: 26 in (66.04 cm)Depth: 24 in (60.96 cm)Seat Height: 18 in (45.72 cm)
- Style:Post-Modern (Of the Period)
- Materials and Techniques:
- Place of Origin:
- Date of Manufacture:1986
- Condition:Wear consistent with age and use. original vintage condition, with minor scuffs and wear to enamel on arms and leather seat. Leather has been painted blue can be reupholstered if desired.
- Seller Location:Miami, FL
- Reference Number:1stDibs: LU110527398833
An architect, industrial designer, philosopher and provocateur, Ettore Sottsass led a revolution in the aesthetics and technology of modern design in the late 20th century.
Sottsass was the oldest member of the Memphis Group — a design collective, formed in Milan in 1980, whose irreverent, spirited members included Alessandro Mendini, Michele de Lucchi, Michael Graves and Shiro Kuramata. All had grown disillusioned by the staid, black-and-brown “corporatized” modernism that had become endemic in the 1970s. Memphis (the name stemmed from the title of a Bob Dylan song) countered with bold, brash, colorful, yet quirkily minimal designs for furniture, glassware, ceramics and metalwork. They mocked high-status by building furniture with inexpensive materials such as plastic laminates, decorated to resemble exotic finishes such as animal skins. Their work was both functional and — as intended — shocking. Even as it preceded the Memphis Group's formal launch, Sottsass's iconic Ultrafragola mirror — in its conspicuously curved plastic shell and radical pops of pink neon — embodies many of the collective's postmodern ideals.
Sottsass's most-recognized designs appeared in the first Memphis collection, issued in 1981 — notably the multihued, angular Carlton room divider and Casablanca bookcase. As pieces on 1stDibs demonstrate, however, Sottsass is at his most imaginative and expressive in smaller, secondary furnishings such as lamps and chandeliers, and in table pieces and glassware that have playful and sculptural qualities.
It was as an artist that Ettore Sottsass was celebrated in his life, in exhibitions at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, in 2006, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art a year later. Even then Sottsass’s work prompted critical debate. And for a man whose greatest pleasure was in astonishing, delighting and ruffling feathers, perhaps there was no greater accolade. That the work remains so revolutionary and bold — that it breaks with convention so sharply it will never be considered mainstream — is a testament to his genius.
As a company that produced many of the most famous and iconic furniture designs of the 20th century, Knoll was a chief influence in the rise of modern design in the United States. Led by Florence Knoll, the firm would draw stellar talents such as Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Eero Saarinen into its compass. Their work would help change the face of the American home and office.
The company was formed in 1938 by the German immigrant Hans Knoll. He first worked with his fellow ex-pat, the Danish designer Jens Risom, who created furniture with flowing lines made of wood. While Risom served in World War II, in 1943 Knoll met his future wife, Florence Schust. She had studied and worked with eminent emigré leaders of the Bauhaus, including Mies, Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer. She won Knoll over with Bauhaus notions of industrial arts, and an aesthetic that featured flat and tubular metal frames and angular forms. When Hans died in a car crash in 1955, Florence Knoll was appointed head of the company. It was as much through her holistic approach to design — a core division of the firm was dedicated to planning office systems — as Knoll's mid-century modern furnishings themselves that she brought about the sleek and efficient transformation of the American workplace.
Today, classic Knoll furnishings remain staples of modern design collections and decor. A history of modern design is written in pieces such as the elegant Barcelona chair — created by Mies and Lilly Reich — Saarinen’s pedestal Tulip chair, Breuer’s tubular steel Wassily lounge chair and the grid-patterned Diamond chair by Harry Bertoia.
As you can see from the collection of these designs and other vintage Knoll dining chairs, sofas and tables on 1stDibs, this manufacturer's offerings have become timeless emblems of the progressive spirit and sleek sophistication of the best of modernism.
- ShippingRetrieving quote...Ships From: Miami, FL
- Return PolicyA return for this item may be initiated within 2 days of delivery.
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