Gufram: I Multipli

The “Multiples” series began with a collaboration with Piero Gilardi, with an emphasis on creative freedom over the functional demands imposed by production. The artist designed the first series of Sassi (Stones) in 1968. The Sassi resembled enlarged versions of simple stones, and thus became simultaneously playful and sculptural objects. Before long, the “Multiples” series expanded, giving free rein to an unrestrained sense of fantasy and creativity. In 1971 Giorgio Ceretti, Pietro Derossi and Riccardo Rosso, members of the architectural group Strum, designed the “Pratone” (Large Lawn), a well-chosen example of hypertrophic nature in the form of a rug that resembled an overgrown lawn. That same year saw the introduction of the Bocca (Mouth), a sofa-sculpture inspired by a painting by Dalì, seen by Sudio65.

Cactus was brought out in 1972, designed by Guido Drocco and Franco Mello. The desert plant, divested of thorns and presented in human proportions, was transformed into an unexpected clothes-stand. This exhibition presents these well-known pieces to a broader public, along with other lesser known or never before seen pieces, such as the Minnie, the Farfalla (Butterfly), the Mattoni (Bricks), the Tavolo Erba (Grass Table), the Detecma, and the PietraLuce (StoneLight), objects whose radical visionary nature has remained unchanged.

-Franco Mello

Studio 65: Bocca, 1971

Guido Drocco and Franco Mello: Cactus, 1972

Piero Gilardi: Massolo, 1974

Piero Gilardi: Pavé Piuma, 1967

Gruppo Strum: Pratone, 1971

Gruppo Strum: Puffo, 1970

Piero Gilardi: Sassi, 1968

Gruppo Strum: Torneraj, 1968

Studio 65: Capitello, 1971

Pretty excellent.

Shiro Kuramata

Shiro Kuramata (b. 1934 in Tokyo), studied architecture at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, and then went on to trains as a cabinetmaker at the Kuwasawa Institute of Design in Tokyo.  After graduation, Kuramata worked for the firm San-Ai from 1957-64 before he founded his own firm, Kuramata Design Office, in Tokyo in 1965.  His creations were groundbreaking (though none of them look all too comfortable to me!).

During the 1970s he started to develop a true following in the world of furniture design as a result of his creations for Memphis in Milan.  His pieces were smart, unique, and incorporated unexpected materials in the most beautiful of ways.

In the 1980s Kuramata even began to explore interior design, creating several boutiques for fashion designer Issey Miyake.

Shiro Kuramata died in Tokyo in 1991.  What a cool dude.

Mid-Century Modern Golliwogs!

The Golliwogs.  They are like a little family of amazingly odd yet endearing characters. But best of all, they are planters!  Each one was hand crafted, and painted by Estelle and Irwin Laverne in 1961 for a restaurant, and if you aren’t familiar with the couples furniture and wallpaper designs you should definitely check them out … plus their story is super interesting!

Sticky Tiki

White walls can get really boring, but it’s really scary committing to a color; paintings and photographs look great, but keep them on the walls forever and they can start to look old. Enter Sticky Tiki, a creative solution in the form of reusable wall decals, originally hand-painted and printed by a crafty couple in Napier, New Zealand. Made from rip- and wrinkle-proof fabric, the graphics are backed with a low-tack adhesive for easy transfer— either to reconfigure the shape, apply them outdoors or to take them with you if you move.  Genius!

Sticky Tiki wall graphics last three to five years, and have been tested for long-lasting strength after repositioning, which work up to around 140 moves.  Best of all, they leave no marks on the walls when moved, so if you, or a little one in your home, outgrows the design, there is no need to repaint the room.  You’ll just have to re-order and re-stick!

The decals come in a variety of styles and range in price, typically spanning $25-150. Pick them up online from the official website or Etsy shop, where you can also contact the makers about customization.  I’m imagining the infinite possibilities … so rad.

This Is No Pool Furniture

Inflatable items have a pretty tacky reputation.  They are generally in the shape of a beach ball or pool float, brightly colored, cheaply made, and often covered in some sort of terrible pattern.

But it is possible to do quite a bit better in the inflatables department.  Excellent blow-up furniture has been in production since the 60s.  What began as a youth statement on how to utilize new materials and technology while accepting the reasonable impermanence of objects, evolved into a pretty excellent field of design.  Here are some of the classic blow-up items, along with a handful of their new, more contemporary forms.

1960s - Quasar Khanh

1960s - Quasar Khanh

1960s - Quasar Knanh

1960s - Gaetano Pesce "Up" Series

1960s - Gaetano Pesce

1960s - Gaetano Pesce

1960s - Pas D'Urbino Lomazzi

2000s - Recycoool

2000s - Recycoool

2000s - Biofield Chesterfield

2000s - Biofield Chesterfield

2000s - Malafor

2000s - Malafor

2000s - Puff-Buff

2000s - Rodrigo Alonso

2000s - Rodrigo Alonso