Hot fifty – Martino Gamper

The highly inventive designer Martino Gamper has a wonderfully mixed background, which shows through in his eclectic work. This was evident in the exhibition A 100 chairs for 100 days, which was held in London last autumn to coincide with the publication of his book, which bears the same title. For the show he made a chair a day in a bid to make 100 chairs in 100 days.

The show followed Confronting the Chair, an exhibition held at London’s Design Museum earlier last year, where Gamper’s own designs were seen alongside chairs by other designers he selected from the museum’s collection.

His creations for that show used elements from discarded and donated chairs. He reckons that, by deconstructing the chair, he gains a new insight into its construction and use of materials which then informs the new design. The process is immediate and spontaneous, like sketching in three dimensions.

It certainly offers a refreshing new take on the concept of sustainable design. It contrasts neatly with the sleek minimal lines of Gamper’s other, beautifully crafted furniture, but don’t be fooled – there’s invariably a witty twist in there.

Gamper was born in Italy, studied sculpture and product design in Vienna, then moved to London in 1998 to study at the Royal College of Art. He has since developed a variety of objects from limited edition to batch-production products and site-specific installations.

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