- 1960: La Fonda del Sol Chairs
- 1961: Textiles Shop and Saint John’s Abbey Church
- 1962: The “Catenary” Group
- 1964: New York State Theater and PK240 Table
- 1965: PK24 Chaise Lounge and PP701 Dining Chair
- 1966: Bulb Lamp and 1U WV Floor Lamp
- 1967: Pastil Chair and Dondolo
- 1968: Marimekko Fabrics
- 1969: Bouloum Chaise and Pesce’s UP Series
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1960: La Fonda del Sol Chairs
Alexander Girard came to be a game-changer in this century’s furniture design. His most remarkable work is that on La Fonda del Sol, a Latino restaurant in New York.
The entire restaurant was Girard’s creation, but he put specific emphasis on the seating. La Fonda chairs are designed so as to leverage the back and the tabletop. This was done to create a space where the eyesight would not be interrupted by protruding backs. The aluminum base of the arm- and side-chairs is unique for the year: unlike the previous ones, this base is assembled from four identical parts. Both the armchairs and side-chairs became a hit with the public and started to be mass-manufactured soon after their first appearance.
1961: Textiles Shop and Saint John’s Abbey Church
In 1961, Alexander Girard designed a showroom trading textile of his own design. The Textiles & Objects Shop was a little-known experimental project by Herman Miller Furniture Company. It specialized in artifacts that seemed incongruent: modern design and folk art. The latter was represented by handicraft, which Girard regarded as a tail-piece to contemporary art.
The same year was marked by the completion of Saint John’s Abbey Church – an ambitious project by Marcel Breuer in Collegeville, MN. Together, the Church with its concrete trees supporting the ceiling and the Bell Banner shielding it is a monumental complex, and they stand out among the other facilities of the Abbey. A new word in American religious architecture, the Church successfully combines Benedictine tradition and modern design.
1962: The “Catenary” Group
The “Catenary” group was designed by Gorge Nelson and manufactured by Herman Miller in 1963-1968. The group consists of a chair, a table, and an ottoman. It takes its name (and the principle behind it) from a term denoting a piece of string hanging between two fixed points. The metal frames supporting the seat take the form of a hanging string. The group has polished chrome frames and leather seats. The tabletop is glass in two colors: clear and amber.
1964: New York State Theater and PK240 Table
The New York State Theater is a work by Philip Johnson. The Theater is a vibrant and masterful combination of neoclassic and modernist architecture. The luxurious symmetric interior is produced from luxurious materials, which is typical for Johnson. The Theater’s promenade features two sculptures by Elie Nadelman: “Two Female Nudes” and “Circus Women.” As the titles imply, both present female nudity and sensitivity. They were carved of Carrera marble in the 1930s and donated to the Theater in 1964.
In the same year, Poul Kjærholm, a renowned Danish designer, completed his table suite consisting of an ash-top steel table (PK240) and eight PK1 chairs. The suite was his signature work, demonstrating his refined sense of shape and material: unlike his contemporaries, the designer preferred steel and leather. Occasionally, as is the case with PK240, Kjærholm worked with The PK240 was initially manufactured by E. Kold Christensen.
1965: PK24 Chaise Lounge and PP701 Dining Chair
The PK24 chaise features Fritz Hansen’s “Poul Kjærholm Collection.” The design is recognizably Kjærholm’s, minimalistic yet refined, with its stainless-steel frame and a combination of wicker and leather. Interestingly, the chaise does not strive to produce an impression of coziness, aiming instead at simplicity and honesty.
The PP701 dining chair is a work by Hans Wegner. Steel pipes, a wooden armrest, and the backrest at the tabletop’s level create the impression of transparency and lightness. The latter is realized through reduced usage of wood. The chairs come in an array of colors and backrest materials. PP701 is a minimalist dining-room version of PP518. Both versions were manufactured by PP Mobler.
1966: Bulb Lamp and 1U WV Floor Lamp
The 1966 Bulb lamp by Ingo Maurer features a chromium base and a hand-blown glass bowl. It was the first to be designed by Maurer, a typographer by training. Since its inception, the Bulb, as well as other lamps, have been manufactured in Munich. The unicity of the Bulb is corroborated by its functionality and artistic appeal.
Cedric Hartman produced his 1U WV floor lamp in the same year. Back in 1960, the lamp was revolutionary, with its stringy quadratic and triangular geometry, as opposed to mainstream heavyweight-based lampshades of the time. The novelty of the lamp lay in the focalized light stream that it cast. The 1U WV is still the best-known work of Hartman’s.
1967: Pastil Chair and Dondolo
The award-winning Pastil Chair was designed by Eero Aarnio and manufactured by Adelta in Finland. The chair takes its name from an eponymous sweet and is produced from hand-laminated fiberglass. This material allows for wear-resistance and outdoor storage. It can even be used as a pool mattress or a snow saucer. Initially, Pastil was produced in white but later came in a variety of colors.
Dondolo, a molded fiberglass rocking-chair, was designed in the same year by Cesare Leonardi and Franca Stage. The rocking-chair is a single long shape with a deep seat. The curvy shape creates an impression of motion; at the same time, it is quite steady at the base. Dondolo was manufactured in Venice by Elco but never mass-produced. Still, the chair featured Elco’s showrooms and annual fairs.
1968: Marimekko Fabrics
Armi Ratia founded a textile printing company almost two decades after her husband started a printing business on a smaller scale in Helsinki. The prospects that she fostered were ambitious. With the help of young and exalted artists, Printex (the former name of the business) got new and novel designs in its collection. As a result, Marimekko Fabrics is one of the world’s leading textile print, fabric, and pre-made item vendors.
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1969: Bouloum Chaise and Pesce’s UP Series
The Bloom was designed by Olivier Mourgue, who named the chaise after his childhood friend and manufactured by Arconas. The chaise lounge is an anthropomorphic seating piece that can be used in a variety of surroundings. The concept of anthropomorphism is played over: the chaise not only copies the shape of a seated human body but also looks like one. The chaise facilitates physical and mental relaxation. It features a steel frame and urethane cover, which comes in a variety of colors.
In the same year, Gaetano Pesce designed his UP series, which was produced a year later. The UP5 chair – the one that resembles a female body – comes with an ottoman shaped like a ball. The chair, which is commonly dubbed “Donna,” is believed to be the symbol of female subjugation. “Donna” is in line with the designer’s overall message – a political one, supposedly. Initially, the UP series were made of polyurethane foam for transfer convenience.