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Piana Folding Chair by David Chipperfield

From Alessi:

For 90 years Alessi has created a universe of items to set the table and entertain guests; to cook with and equip the kitchen; to smarten up the living room and furnish the bathroom. The only thing left for Alessi to do was to make a thirty year dream come true: to offer to its loyal public a wonderful chair to relax in.

“Piana” is a new folding chair created by Alessi using cutting edge material and technology and which accesses the manufacturing expertise of Lamm and the clever design of David Chipperfield. Light, sturdy, practical and ecological, this top-quality ‘Made in Italy’ project, available in many colours, is described by David Chipperfield as possessing a “visual expression that is indicative in its simplicity of the function and role of the item itself, bestowing the chair a character of eternity.” “Piana” is not only intended for public places; it is also suitable for private use: in the dining room as well as in the kitchen, in the study or on the terrace, in the children’s bedroom as well as in the garden.

Alberto Alessi, President of Alessi spa, describes this new challenge: “From a creative point of view, I consider it a masterstroke in the most difficult area for designers: a type of product that many artists have tried their hand at throughout history but with so few excellent results. The revelation in this design has much to do with geometric abstraction and the search for great formal simplicity: rigour and precision as the typical qualities of the poetics of David Chipperfield.”

David Chipperfield says that “After careful research into historic and contemporary folding chairs, the concept for “Piana” focused on a simple, iconic, general-purpose folding chair, easily recognisable as such. The design aimed to produce a well-made chair in a material which expresses its utilitarian and transient nature. “Piana” is a simple folding chair made out of polypropylene with glass fibre. The three parts of the chair rotate around a single axis and the finely engineered supporting structure and mechanism are concealed within the moulded components. The matt finish and tactile qualities of the polypropylene render the chair both comfortable and robust. It folds completely flat and is horizontally stackable”.

Eugenio Morselli, President of Lamm, explains how the idea to share this adventure with Alessi developed: “At Lamm our business is making chairs. We have been producing them for over 50 years and we are very good at it. We strive to make them comfortable, durable, safe and, above all, beautiful. We want them to be 100% made in Italy, with no compromises. Rather than chairs, though, we should talk about seats: for large public spaces, for offices, conference halls, theatres, auditoriums and the major universities. In all of these years we have never thought of approaching the domestic ambience, being aware that this requires expertise, know-how and, most importantly, designs that differ greatly from those we use to create our products. However, we do have an authentic love for seating and we knew that, sooner or later, the opportunity to take on such a challenge would arise. This is exactly what happened when we crossed paths with Alessi, a queen of the home environment whose name is synonymous with the very concept of domestic design. Together with Alessi we sought to design and then launch a project for a foldable, multifunctional seat, minimalistic in terms of content, environmentally friendly and made with lightweight materials. The majestic strokes of David Chipperfield’s pencil eventually regaled us with the magical “Piana”, a wonderfully designed folding chair, the perfect synthesis of beauty and rigour. An achievement that we will certainly be very proud of for the next 50 years.

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