Vitra dazzles yet again with its latest products in the Furniture Fair in Milan 2011.
At the last Milan Fair, their stand was one of the most visited. The space literally became small and it was chock-a-block. Several domestic sets introduced the eager visitors to the “Vitra home”, a concept reminiscent of their show-room VitraHaus, built by Herzog & de Meuron in the shape of various stacked homes. But there was also a complement to this domestic vision: we could see exterior elements, for the first time an outdoor chair, and also pieces for the “Vitra office”, the other strength of their brand.
No doubt the star of the Vitra 2011 catalogue has been the Tip Ton chair, a plastic chair that is cheap, ergonomic and comes in colourful tones that have gained many fans. Designed by Edward Barber & Jay Osgerby, Tip Ton defines a new type of seat: it is a chair that leans forward. Its name refers to this feature of dual position, balancing.
This is the first project between Vitra and Edward Barber & Jay Osgerby, architects of the London Royal College of Art. You can see the video about Tip Ton here.
According to Alfredo Häberli: “Jill’s inspiration comes from the Leg Splint, designed by Charles and Ray Eames in the 1970s for the US Navy. The fascination generated by the three-dimensionality of the upper part and the tension of the holes, gives the board a great sculptural value that goes beyond its functionality. Plywood Elephant has a similar fascination due to its plasticity and the milling of its face. The cantilever projection surface of the Jill seat, similar to a trampoline, raises the question of whether perhaps it is a frame with a seating surface or a seating surface framed by a ribbon for the back. The different bases and their materials make the frame explicitly stand out, while its styling makes a visual reference to the flexibility and elasticity of the seat’s frame. You can see the video of the Jill chair here.
On the other hand, Fauteuil Suita – armchair in French – also by Citterio, is a compact seat that complements and extends the family of sofas presented in 2010. Defined by the comfortable depth of its seat and a high back, Fauteuil Suita shares with the rest of the family not only its formal expression, but also the aluminium legs in the shape of a stirrup and the leather and fabric upholstery. It can be used both at home and in offices and other public spaces.
Lastly, a friendly wink to the collectors of Vitra objects: L’Oiseau of the French Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec. This is an accessory that complements the personal collage of a contemporary home in a friendly way without verging on kitsch. Vitra acknowledges the importance of the reviled “decoration”: fabrics, colours, light, objects and accessories are the things that in the end create the sensory impressions with which spaces can be designed or re-designed depending on one’s state of mind and needs.
L’Oiseau is a representation of a bird at rest that emerged from the workshop of the Bouroullec. Their inspiration: “we had always been fascinated by representations of animals, regardless of whether they were primitive or modern: from the bears made in walrus ivory to the blown glass birds in Finland. To focus on these themes may seem a bit out of date, but we believe that precisely the times in which we live, it is necessary to expand the symbolic bestiary with imagination”. L’Oiseau, maple wood milling and lightly sanded, is reminiscent of the simplicity of wooden objects of Nordic folk art.
Photographs courtesy of Vitra. Images of the Stand/Booth by Eduardo Perez.