Friday, February 6, 2009

Vintage Friday - Bertoia Wire Chair

Like the Saarinen Tulip table, the Bertoia wire chair has earned its stripes in the design world. Its been featured in countless interiors in countless ways and has proved itself as an enduring, versatile design classic. As the photos I've chosen below illustrate, the chair can be paired with any table; you can even mix and match it with other chairs. This is important to me when dealing with a classic, because the likelihood of finding more that one or two originals is low, so it has to be versatile. How is this an eco choice? Well, vintage is always eco, and if you should choose a new one, its made of recyclable materials. Honestly, though, you're not going to just recycle it - it'll be treasured in your home for a long time.
Living Etc.

Living Etc.

Living Etc.

A little History: Harry Bertoia immigrated from Italy at the age of 15. After studying art and design (specifically metal sculpture) at various institutes, where he encountered the likes of of Edmund Bacon and Charles Eames, he set up shop as a jewellery designer, as WWII made metal a scarce and expensive material. Following the end of the war, he moved to California, where he participated in a co-op including design icons Eero Saarinen and Charles and Ray Eames developing molded plywood techniques for designing furniture. Finally, in 1950, he partnered with Knoll Associates and designed the Bertoia Collection for Knoll, which spawned the wire chair we are now so familiar with. In Bertoia's own words, "If you look at these chairs, they are mainly made of air, like sculpture. Space passes right through them."

Living Etc.

Amie Weitzman


Where can you get one? Well, new ones are still in production at Knoll, but sourcing a vintage one is pretty easy. I searched ebay and found several right away. I also come across them fairly regularly on Craigslist and in city retro/antique stores.

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1 comment:

  1. i'll admit that they look cool, but i just can't see how they would be very comfortable. i still like the pink kitchen best. :D



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