Philippe Starck & Other Milan Design Week 2014 Highlights: Take a Seat!

Catherine Bowen small
Catherine Bowen
, Plascon Trends Editor

Philippe Starck Kartell "Uncle Jim Aunts Collection" at Salon del Mobile" Milan Deisgn Week 2014, Image Source designboom.com

Philippe Starck Kartell “Uncle Jim Aunts Collection” at Salon del Mobile” – Milan Design Week 2014, Image Source: designboom.com

One of the first round-up notes I’m going to post on Milan Design Week 2014 is on the topic of seating.

Philippe Starck is one of the pioneers of contemporary and classic design, and a humorous hero in my books (I just adore watching YouTube clips of his ramblings and thought on design). At the 2014 edition of Salone del Mobile, Philippe presented a range that has been 4 years in development and perfection.

It was an important anniversary for the Starck-Kartell partnership: 15 years of transparency, research and experimentation in injection-molding with transparent polycarbonate in a single mould. In 1999 they presented ‘la marie’ by Philippe Starck:

Philippe Starck Furniture Design

"la marie" by Philippe Starck, Image Source homeanddecor.com

“la marie” by Philippe Starck, Image Source: homeanddecor.com

Now in 2014, they have presented the ‘uncle jack’ sofa which has a seating surface measuring 190 cm and weighing 30 kilograms in just one piece of polycarbonate – a world-first in this technology:

Philippe Starck Kartell "Uncle Jim Aunts Collection" at Salon del Mobile" Milan Deisgn Week 2014, Image Source designboom.com

Philippe Starck Kartell “Uncle Jim Aunts Collection” at Salon del Mobile” – Milan Design Week 2014, Image Source: designboom.com

Besides the ‘uncle jack’ sofa (above), there are also the ‘uncle jim’ armchairs (first image) with a high back construction and the ‘uncle jo’ small armchairs. I would encourage you to watch the clip of Starck below, for a giggle and insight into this range:

Another offering of coloured and contemporary classical design are these “Rival” chairs by designer Konstantin Grcic, also revealed at Salone del Mobile 2014. Like Starck’s offering, Grcic has utilised a technique that allows the legs of the chair to be milled from one piece of solid birch that gives the wood a “fluid quality, similar to the aesthetic of moulded plastic”. (designboom.com)

Artek/Konstantin Grcic Rival Multifunctional Task Chair, Image Source designboom.com

Artek/Konstantin Grcic Rival Multifunctional Task Chair, Image Source: designboom.com

And then there are these beautiful pieces by Hella Jongerius, for Vitra. Her “East River” chair was originally conceived and designed for the United Nation’s North Delegates lounge in New York. The two-tonal chair uses a combination of different materials for the different surfaces (leather on the armrests for durability, and a combination of two-colour cloth for the seat and backrest).

UN East River Chair by Hella Jongerius,  Image Source vogue.com.au

UN East River Chair by Hella Jongerius, Image Source: vogue.com.au

Interestingly, Jongerius also collaborated with Artek (the same company as Konstantin Grcic did) for a reinterpretation of Alvar Aalto’s armchairs 400 and 401 and stool 60, featuring her signature use of two-tone colour:

Hella Jongerius/Arteck reinterpretation of Alvar Aalto's 401 Chair, Image Source jongeriuslab.com

Hella Jongerius/Arteck reinterpretation of Alvar Aalto’s 401 Chair, Image Source: jongeriuslab.com

So, which of these cleverly crafted and colourful seating options do you most fancy? 🙂

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