Head to Head Signature Armchairs: Re-Editions Translate History in a Contemporary Key

Isabella Prisco
·2 minuto per la lettura
Photo credit: Courtesy Photo Visionnaire
Photo credit: Courtesy Photo Visionnaire

From ELLE Decor

The aesthetic remains, but techniques change: re-edited design projects give homage to maestros of the 20th century, proposing archived pieces and furnishings that have marked the evolution of design in Italy and around the world. Their forms and volumes, faithful to the original versions, are imbued with the creative and industrial processes of today. Restituting new value to the work of the greatest designers means companies are accepting the arduous challenge of re-editing and recovering all the fascination and importance of their iconic histories while looking to the future. Projects presented then are inserted within current spaces and lifestyles, embracing both classic and futuristic lines. To understand how, we take a closer look at two armchairs in this special head to head challenge: Mercury by Rito Valla, re-edited by Visionnaire, and 875 by Ice Parisi for Cassina.

Photo credit: Courtesy Photo Visionnaire
Photo credit: Courtesy Photo Visionnaire

It was 1963 and Ipe, a company founded in Bologna in 1959 by the brothers Pompeo and Vittorio Cavalli, had participated in the first edition of the International Salone del Mobile in Milan with their Mercury sofa and armchair designed by Rito Valla. Today, the two celebrated pieces conceived by the sculptor return in a limited edition release by Visionnaire, available on 1stDibs. Faithful to the original design, the chair and two-seat sofa continue to surprise with elevated engineering that hides behind the soft and sinuous forms of padding. At its debut, the revolutionary system introduced by Ipe saw the use of polyethers, shaped on light metallic reticular structures, to replace kapok, horsehair, springs, elastic cords, and nails. Adopting more modern polymers, the re-edition conserves Valla’s unique and extruded volumes with a graphic twist, along with his sculpture of vital corporeality and grace.

Photo credit: Courtesy Photo Cassina, DePasquale+Maffini
Photo credit: Courtesy Photo Cassina, DePasquale+Maffini

It was during the Fifties when Ico Parisi, alongside Cesare Cassina, began a prolific collaboration: the debut dates back to 1954, with the 813 chair going down in history as “the egg chair”. Then, in 1960, the noted Italian architect and designer born in Palermo 44 years earlier, designed the 875 chair. Rigid but welcoming, it traces the expressive and formal experimentation typical of its creator: solemn and linear volumes are softened by the contrast of materials used, resulting versatile and adaptable to any context despite its classical connotations. The structure, initially filled with foam rubber cut into sharp edges, is now re-edited by Cassina with padding in expanded polyurethane, maintaining its linear and square form. To this, original fabrics and new finishes were added. Thanks to the astute philological work and research developed in collaboration with Roberta Lietti, curator of the Ice Parisi Design Archive, the company rediscovers the roots of domestic living in the ‘50s, inaugurating a new chapter in the anthology dedicated to re-editions of the 20th century’s great architectural maestros.

Photo credit: Courtesy Photo Cassina
Photo credit: Courtesy Photo Cassina