Evolving furniture design

My Favorite Chair of ALL Time

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I know, I know, that’s a big statement. In my last post I mentioned that I wanted to head the blog in a more personal direction, so what better way to start that off than with my all time favorite.

Someone once told me that when buying art, it really doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks, you should buy a piece if you truly love it, and feel a visceral connection to it. I think furniture can fall into this category. There is only one chair that I can honestly call my favorite of ALL time! I don’t own one yet, but maybe someday.

In 1969 Gaetano Pesce designed the “UP” series of furniture for C&B Italia. It wouldn’t be until many years later that I learned about it in design school and fell in love. The basic concept behind this series of furniture was coined “transformative furniture”. The concept was that the owner would have a much deeper connection with their piece of furniture if they could watch it grow and evolve into it’s “grown up” state.

The pieces that Pesce designed were built out of foam that could be vacuum packed and by doing so shrunk down to a much smaller package. When the consumer cut the vacuum sealed box open, their furniture would grow and expand over the next few hours into the final usable piece right in front of their eyes.  I have been enamored with this concept since hearing about it years ago, and only recently got to sit in these chairs on a trip to NYC.

Beyond the concept of the transformation, there is one chair and pattern that really caught my design eye, and without further ado, I present to you my FAVORITE CHAIR of ALL TIME!

The UP5 (la donna) by Gaetano Pesce.FullSizeRender.jpgFullSizeRender 2.jpgFullSizeRender 3.jpg

Now unfortunately this is not an original. It was found that the original foam degraded over time, so the modern versions are no longer made with the same vacuum sealing squishability. This is a new version with modern construction underneath which does take away some of the experience, however it was still just as comfortable as I could have imagined.

Leave me a comment and let me know what YOUR all time favorite piece of furniture is.


A little more history;  Not only was this chair innovative in the realm of flat pack shipping that we now take for granted, the UP5 was also called the La Donna chair because when Pesce was designing it, he wanted to speak to “the shackles that keep women subjugated.” The ball shaped ottoman is actually attached by a chain or cord to the chair itself. It really is a deeply artistic & meaningful piece. One thing Gaetano Pesce was famous for was the statement behind his pieces, more derived in artistic pursuit than necessarily wanting to produce for the mainstream market which is amazing considering what an incredibly comfortable chair this is, and how popular it has become.

Some photos of the originals, and yes. That would be Sean Connery in the last one.


Photo Credit to Modernica.net


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