Just when I was beginning to feel allergic to design, perhaps after one too many ‘design alerts’ in my e-mail inbox, finally, something that offered respite: Martino Gamper’s 100 Chairs in 100 Days.
Clever, beautiful, and simple, those 100 chairs seemed to answer the perennial question ‘Do we need yet another chair?’ with a resounding ‘Yes, there’s always room for something fresh and inspirational’.
I came across the chairs colonising a house in London’s South Kensington; all 100 of them, looking like stray mongrel pups in a dog’s home. Gamper had made them out of bits of other chairs – some anonymous, some very famous – and had reassembled them with a finely judged subtlety, each component being wonderfully balanced and sparingly edited.
Within those 100 chairs could be read a history of chair design, from Chesterfield to G-Plan by way of Gio Ponti. But, they also spoke of so many other things: technology, materiality, function, ritual, community and family.
Maybe you wouldn’t want to sit on one for long, but their lovingly crafted message about the impact of design on our culture and society reminded me of everything that I love about design.
Thank you, Martino.