Arne Norell: Sumptuous Seating

Post-war designer Arne Norell, was born in Åsele, Sweden in 1917. In 1954, Norell opened a small furniture workshop in Stockholm and by 1958 he launched his eponymous manufacturing company, Møbel AB Arne Norell, still active today, with his work being carried on by his daughter and son-in-law. His company is set upon a two-acre farm in an idyllic countryside, which was the main source of inspiration for his work. Norell employed traditional materials, leather, turned and bentwood and metal in unexpected forms with a lyrical flair. His pieces are credited with an effortless casual character combined with all of the muted sophistication of Scandinavian modern design. Posthumously, in 1973, The British Furniture Manufacturers Association awarded Norell’s low-slung Ari Chair c.1966 – Showpiece of the Year.
Arne Norell Inca sofa

Norell’s Inca 2-seat sofa chair is a masterpiece of construction. The solid beech wood frame is held together by strong leather supports without glue or screws c.1960s.
Arne Norell Ari chair

The Ari chair received the most recognition for Norell. In black buffalo leather and brushed flat steel frame, this chair expresses his wonderful curvilinear style, c.1960s, still being manufactured today.

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Jacques Adnet: Luxurious Simplicity

Designer, Jacques Adnet was an icon of luxurious French Modernism.  He attended  École des Beaux-Arts in Paris and was inspired by pre-classical styles and his avant-garde take on traditional pieces. Adnet believed in the functional aspect of furniture combined with geometric simplicity above all else. His streamlined, modernist designs emphasized luxurious materials – such as leather, chromed metals, mirror and precious woods. In 1950, Adnet formed a partnership with the French fashion house, Hermés, where he developed a collection of leather-covered furniture and interior accessories. One of his most iconic designs is the Adnet Mirror, a single circular pane hung from a leather strap. “What a lot of work to achieve simplicity,” he once said. During the 50’s he received numerous commissions as the designer for private apartments of the President at the Elysée Palace and the meeting room of the UNESCO headquarters in Paris. Throughout his career Jacques Adnet forged relationships with a team of noteworthy collaborators including Charlotte Perriand, George Jove, Alexandre Noll and Serge Mouille. Ultimately he is best known as a designer who linked tradition and modernism with his inventive, elegant creations, defining himself as ‘innovative and classical, the champion of a tradition looking forwards.’
Jacques Adnet Armchair

This Adnet armchair is constructed of black leather, with a cantilevered back perched on an enameled steel base, from the early 1950’s.

Adnet’s black bamboo desk has a central drawer with a gilded brass ring under a panel suspended over two saw horse splayed legs, in brass, steel and leather. Adnet’s design from the 1950’s still influences desks designed today.

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Franco Albini: Poetic Precision

Born in the Italian countryside of Brianza to a well-to-do bourgeois family, Franco Albini (1905-1977) was inspired by his fond memories of the landscape and the precise beauty of tradition. After attending architecture school in Milan, he served his apprenticeship with Milanese Architects Gio Ponti and Emilio Lancia where he had direct contact with artisan cabinet-makers and talented craftsmen. In 1930 he opened his own practice. Utilizing the knowledge he gained from working with talented craftsmen – he created his own unique aesthetic, elegant design merged with traditional Italian artisanship and the new conceptual movement of modernism. In 1928 Albini created the iconic Albini Desk, which combined steel, glass and wood in a minimalist combination of balanced proportions. He continued to design some of the most famous and fashionable furniture pieces for companies such as Cassina, Arflex, Arteluce and Poggi and in 1964 he created a television set for Brionvega. Albini also worked as an architect and interior designer on important buildings in Rome and subway stations in Milan.
Franco Albini chair

Albini’s  Fiorenza Chair, c.1952 was designed for Arflex. This lounge chair in leather with a wood frame embodies his ability to combine traditional elegance with modernist minimalism and clarity of form.
Franco Albini ottoman

These rattan ottomans / poufs combine Albini’s rationality of form with the beauty of raw simple material c.1951.

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Paavo Tynell: Brass with Sass

Finnish designer Paavo Tynell (1890-1973) was a master of lighting and working with his favorite material, brass. Paavo Tynell began his studies as a tinsmith and continued his education at the school now known as Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture. It was while working as a designer at Taidetakomo Koru, Tynell made his first brass lamp and he was immediately drawn to the material. He developed an easily recognizable style by combining a few simple principals – perforated brass metal, an ornamented yet sleek design, a unique lift mechanism and nature as inspiration. Tynell is most well known for his design Lumihiutale (Snowflake), shown below. He also produced pieces for two American companies Lightolier and Litecraft. In addition to his mass produced lighting designs, Tynell created custom pieces for many public spaces, including hotels, train stations and restaurants. Several contemporary Scaninavian modern lighting pieces are inspired by Tynell’s ahead of the curve designs, while his original pieces are highly collectible on today’s auction circuit.
Paavo Tynell lamp
This stunning Tynell rectangular flush mount ceiling light is made of black lacquered brass with pinhole perforations. Part of his Starry Sky series, the brass grid underneath supports a frosted glass diffuser which provides for beautiful light distribution, c. 1950’s.

One of Tynell’s signature designs, the Snowflake chandelier is from his Fantasia series. This model 9065 is from the early 1950’s and is constructed of perforated and enameled brass and metal mesh.

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Ico Parisi: Objects of Beauty

Ico Parisi (1916-1996), a Sicilian born architect, was one of the most influential designers and visionaries to shape the look of the 1950s. Parisi had a fertile imagination and was considered somewhat of a Renaissance man, he was active in the areas of filmmaking, furniture, glass and jewelry design – as well as an artist and architect. He collaborated with his wife Luisa, who was a student of renowned architect and designer Gio Ponti throughout much of his career. The Parisi’s work contains no ornamentation but it is fluid and in constant motion, the sofa’s look as if they could walk out of the room. The curvilinear styling of their upholstered sofa’s and chairs appears fabulously sexy and unique. Parisi’s work epitomizes the modernist style of the early atomic age and has become highly collectible.

Ico Parisi chair

One of Ico and Luisa’s classic pieces, this lounge chair, model 865, c.1954 is constructed of upholstery, steel and brass. A similar model was included in the tenth Triennial in Milan in 1954.

Created as a important private commission, this walnut and fabric sofa was executed by Spartaco Brugnoli, Italy in the early 1950’s.

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