AN81/82/83: This armchair, and the related two and three-seat couches, known as "Tuxedo", owe their name to Tuxedo Park, an elegant and exclusive holiday resort near Tuxedo Lake, New York, which represented a reference point for the elegance of the time.
AN91/92/93: This model, is the result of the slow evolution of a type probably created after the First World War, which towards the mid-1920s became well known and highly appreciated. The characteristic volume of the armrest is the stylization of the richer and more decorated motif that characterized the 19th century sofas.
CH62/71: The sofa was used for the interiors of the set of Marcel L'Herbier’s film "L'inhumaine" in 1923 by Alberto Cavalcanti, and for that of the film "Le Vertige" in 1925. It became one of the objects characterizing the Maison de Verre’s interior, designed to be the home and office of Dr. Dulsace in Paris from 1928 to 1932. The structure was originally covered in velvet and stuffings were covered in leather or tapestries; this couch represents the modern version of the French 19th century "canapé à confident", since, with its round sides, it invites the two sitting persons to converse looking directly at one another. The armchair was used for the small blue room of the Maison de Verre.
ARABESK: Originally the structure was made of a wooden framework carved by hand, filled up from foam rubber panels and covered with fabric. The re-edition is manufactured with an injection of expanded foam on a metal loom. The project, from which has been developed a version with two places, issue from the tridimensional unrolling of a leaf, that interlaces and models itself until it reduce itself in correspondence of the three feet. Arabesk is exposed at Vitra Museum.
CO21/22/23: Faithful to the aspect of the original prototype of the Grand Modèle of Grand Confort, it underlines the contrast between the softness of the feather seat and the rigidity of the metal structure. The construction of the prototype certainly had handicraft characteristics, which only after 1959 could be adapted to the requirements of large-scale production. The two and three-seater models based on the design of the Grand Confort cannot in actual fact be attributed to Le Corbusier, who had conceived an armchair suited to satisfy the physical standard of an individual, and had refused Heidi Weber’s request to extend the original design to a sofa. It was not until the end of the 1960s that the first models of sofas inspired by the Grand Confort appeared on the market.
CO31/32/33: In line with the research characterizing the whole experience of Le Corbusier as a designer, and notably with the theme of the proportions codified in the Modulor, this small version of the Grand Confort series was conceived for the man who generally sits upright, with his legs apart. Grand Confort was not manufactured in 1929 and the known prototypes were characterized by a spring mechanism that bent the armchair backwards when used. This mechanism was eliminated in the new editions from 1959 by Heidi Weber who, in agreement with Le Corbusier, also made other modifications, including the cushions’ shape and the assembly characteristics. Also for this model the two and three-seater versions cannot be attributed to Le Corbusier.
FL21/22/23: As Knoll Associates Planning Unit Director, Florence Schust Knoll Basset produced and distributed furnishings designed by the greatest masters of contemporary design; meanwhile she developed some projects of her own, such as the “lounge collection” of 1954, shown here.
FR01/02: This armchair is the derivation of a model designed by Frank for Madame Cerf’s apartment. The armchair with the arched back was widespread in the 1930s but Frank’s version stands out for some characterizations: the arch of the back which is laid in the centre of the armrest and does not embrace the whole rear part of the chair and the shape of the armrests which are neither inclined nor tapered. The sofa is simply a two-seat derivation of the armchair.
FR11/12/13: Couches and armchairs similar to this one characterized the interiors of middle-class homes from the beginning of the 20th century to the end of the 1920s. In his activity as interior decorator, a relatively new profession and quite distinct from that of architect, Frank himself did not claim the authorship of the furniture he was using in his work, although he used it freely, reworking proportions, inclinations and other construction details. The fact remains that through his works he was able to exert an incisive influence on the taste of the period, and that his reinterpretation of pre-existing objects characterized them to the extent of making them seem his own. Not being destined to mass-production, Frank’s designs are known through the photographs of the interiors he decorated. The sofas are simply a two and three-seat derivation of the armchair.
FR91/92/93: A re-interpretation of the model used by Frank for the interior decoration of Jean Pierre Guerlain’s home. Although deriving from the stylization of a model produced in the years after the First World War, Frank’s personalization gives it a strong characterization, recognizable in the geometry of the pyramidal feet, too. The sofas are simply a two and three-seat derivation of the armchair.
GR23: The turning-point of Eileen Gray's formal and expressive languages is generally considered the work that the fashion designer Suzanne Talbot, pseudonym of Madame Mathieu Lévy, commissioned her for the Parisian apartment in Rue de Lota. Beginning from this project indeed, her new and more austere language took progressively shape and emancipated her from the Deco.
HO21/22/23: The armchair was designed for the living room of “Haus Kohler” in 1911. It represents an iteraton of a model previously designed for the Palais Stoclet’s vestibule in Brussels (1905-1911). In that case, the armchair also rested on wooden feet, but presented a more moderate use of the decorative border. The two and the three-seater sofas are simply derivations of the armchair.
HO31/32/33: Wrongly attributed by some journalists of the period to Otto Prutscher, Hoffmann’s pupil and co-founder of the Wiener Werkstätte, this armchair was produced and presented at the international exhibition held in Buenos Aires in 1910 on the centennial of Argentinean independence (la Revolución de Mayo). The designer’s preference for geometric compositions modulated on the square is well known and is characteristic of his most important architectural designs. For this reason his formal language was ironically renamed “Quadratstil". The sofas are simply a two and three-seat derivation of the armchair.
LE81/82/83: Considered by some critics as a designer inspired by the more famous Ruhlmann, in his work Leleu actually developed an elegant and refined language in his work that distinguished him from his contemporaries. This armchair is the new edition of one of the most suggestive and original works by Leleu, who liked it to the point of using it several times, in Marcel L’Herbier’s film "Le parfum de la dame en noir" in 1931 and in the "Trouville" apartment on the liner “Normandie" in 1935. The sofas are simply a two and three-seat derivation of the armchair.
MI16/17: From an idea of Mies, developed in 1932, that aimed at reinventing the deck-chair of a ship, where it could be used by leaning its upper side against the deck’s railing. Further uses were in fact contemplated, such as hanging it from a tree branch or a ceiling hook at home. The curved base that gives form to the armrest characterizes this new edition, and is a solution present in other sketches of the same period.
MI34/36: This armchair, together with the stool, was designed for the Barcelona International Exhibition of 1929 for which Mies designed the German pavilion including the furniture. Two armchairs of this model were to have been used by the King and Queen of Spain during their official visit to the pavilion to sign the guest book. They were initially produced by Berliner Metallgewerbe Joseph Müller, and from 1931 by Bamberg Metalwerkstätten.
SA21/22/23: Designed for the lobbies of the General Motors Technology Centre in Warren, Michigan, the seating collection is composed of armchairs and two, three and four-seat sofas. They answered the need for representativeness Saarinen was looking for through the explicit reference to stock car seats, known for their comfort and for the quality of their upholsteries and finishes. Through these products, the technological research, which permeates the whole architectural plan, finds further opportunity for experimentation. The plan elaborates the image of an inclined seat suspended inside a three-dimensional framework, consisting of a self-supporting frame in fiberglas mechanically connected to the steel base. The difficulty of obtaining a perfectly horizontal surface through seat and armrests, along with the difficulty of making the upholsteries perfectly adhere to the frame, which presents various angles, are probably at the basis of two different series of construction designs which constitute part of Eero Saarinen’s archive, donated in 2002 to the Yale University by the studio Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates LLC. A prototype of the chair is exhibited at MOMA. Some original pieces of the seating collection, as well as some benches and tables are still present inside the buildings of the General Motors Technology Centre planned by Saarinen. These reproductions, built on the basis of the original designs and the existing pieces, are the first to be produced since the fifites’.
SA31/32/33/34: Conceived for the reading rooms and student lounges of the University of Chicago Law School, the single or multiple seats sofa is part of the furnishings designed by Eero Saarinen and destined to The Law School and to the Women’s Residence Halls, the two buildings which he had been commissioned to design and which both opened in 1959. Like most of Saarinen’s projects, the design develops around one central theme which, in this case, is the separation of the sofa’s backs.