(smow) blog compact Milan 2014 Special: Vitra @ Salone del Mobile

Older readers will remember how last year one of the Vitra Senior Manager’s quoted from this blog in his pre-fair pep talk to the assembled Team Vitra.

Having reached the zenith of our careers we contemplated retiring.

Fortunately we didn’t.

For at Milan 2014 Vitra have re-issued objects from a collection of Alexander Girard furniture designs that featured in our July 2012 “Lost Furniture Design Classics” post.

OK not the furniture pieces we referred to, but objects from the same collection. And while we can’t prove a connection……

Created in 1967 in context of his legendary design work with Braniff Airlines, Alexander Girard’s furniture collection was produced by Herman Miller. But only for a year.

Vitra’s re-issue sadly doesn’t include the sofa and armchair that so moved us to pen that particular post, but does include the Colour Wheel Ottoman. A joyful piece of well thought through and perfectly proportioned furniture design, the Colour Wheel Ottoman features the same base and leg structure as the sofa and side chair, but is a much more approachable, cuddlier, domestic item. And an item that has lost none of its charm over the intervening four decades since its conception.

For us the decision to re-issue is not only very welcome but also very sensible; not least because it gives Vitra a new product genre that beautifully complements and extends the existing Vitra Home Collection.

Parallel to the Colour Wheel Ottoman Vitra have also released some of Alexander Girard’s side tables from the same collection, tables of which in 2012 we wrote “The tables don’t rock our boat quite as much. A little too restrained, don’t really look fully thought through. Look a little too much like a necessary, unloved afterthought.” Sentiments we stand by.

In addition Vitra have also launched re-edition of the  Aluminium Chairs EA 101, 103 and 104 by Charles and Ray Eames. Originally marketed as the “Aluminium Dining Chairs” the EA 101, 102 and 104 are somewhat more compact than, for example the  EA 105 or EA 107 and as such more suitable for domestic settings. Be that a dining table or not. Complimenting the new chairs and their domestic suitability is a palette, a veritable pastel rainbow, of new tones developed by Hella Jongerius for the Kvadrat fabric Hopsack as used in and on the aluminium chair collection.

We know such colour schemes are more about lifestyle than design. But they are most alluring.

New products by Barber Osgerby, Jasper Morrison, Hella Jongerius and a re-launch of the legendary Landi Chair by Hans Coray together with the Davy Table from Michel Charlot – a new product inspired by the Landi Chair and intended as an accompanying piece – complete a fascinating collection of new products.

A  few impressions.

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