Friday, February 27, 2009

Xes table | Edward Geluk | Goods, the Netherlands | 2003

Edward Geluk Xes table Edward Geluk
Goods, the Netherlands, 2003

Edward Geluk was born in 1951 in Arnhen, the Netherlands.  He trained at the AKI Academy for Visual Arts and Design in Enschede, the Netherlands and taught architecture there until 2006. He works as an interior architect and furniture designer. He prefers basic and elementary shapes in his designs.  Geluk has designed a variety of items, which can be found at his website, here.  A more complete cv is available there as well.

Xes tablePromotional picture for the Xes.  Image source: goods.nl

Xes is a very small table with a very heavy foot.  It is 13 cm in diameter and 65 cm in height.  It is available in two finishes, matte stainless steel and shiny, chrome plated stainless steel from Goods.  Cool, striking, uncommon, conversation starter, not just a table.  The small top is made of nylon, hence its eligibility to be presented here!


As a replacement or supplement for a coffee table, this table designed for a single glass or cup makes a modest but functional addition to any interior.  A luxury, yes, but oh so convenient.  It has a 2 mm deep divot with a diameter of 8.4 cm machined into the nylon to trap any spill and keep the glass centered.  Very smart.  When not in use, Xes can be set aside, so it’s never in the way.

I purchased my table from poaa.nl.  Friends of mine got two more.  All with good results.  Both models are on sale for €209 = $270.  But a little less outside Europe because the VAT is subtracted.  Shipping is also  reasonable.  Orders for the Xes table usually ship 1 to 2 weeks after placement but be patient, you know how ordering modern furniture can be.  You can get it elsewhere too, it is still in production.

Xes tablePromotional picture for the Xes.  Image source: goods.nl

Xes table tagXes table tagThis little tag is tied to the foot of the table when it arrives.

Xes table box label

Left:  The label on the cardboard box the Xes comes in.  The box was well beat up, but what can you expect from such a journey?

Xes table Moved from the other side of the loveseat for a more front-and-center appearance, the Xes table. 

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

4690 fioriera (flowerpot vase) | Giotto Stoppino | Kartell, Italy | 1972

Giotto Stoppino 4690 vaseGiotto Stoppino
Kartell, Italy, 1972

On March 9, 2000, Giotto Stoppino was honored by Poste Italiane by having a stamp issued featuring one of his designs.  The center right stamp shows the Quartetto sideboard designed by Lodovico Acerbis and Giotto Stoppino for Acerbis International (1991).

Italian design stamps

Previously, I featured the Deda vase by Stoppino for Heller.  This vase for Kartell is almost entirely different in form.  It is called “fioriera” or flowerpot.  It is made of injection molded ABS plastic.

Appropriate for long stemmed flowers, it consists of a vertical column with rounded ends sitting diagonal and perpendicular to the base.  Inside this column fits a plastic piece with twelve holes in it.  The twelve holes are 4.8 cm from the top of the vase.  Two smaller holes, 5 mm in diameter, the bottom of which are 6 cm from the top of the vase, will drain if the water gets too high.  The entire vase is 23 cm wide by 23 cm deep by 23 cm tall. I had seen it only in white until I saw one in orange at a Wright sale and one in black on eBay last year.

4690 vase, orange Giotto Stoppino 4690 vase for Kartell, in orange from Wright’s Utopia: Lost and Found auction April 1, 2008.  Realized $306 against an estimate of $200-300.

Image source, eBay.  This 4690 vase (black with original box) at €100 = $130 and other items are for sale at the eBay store of QUARUME.

4690 vase, white Image source: Retromodern.com (website currently unavailable).

A couple of years ago, I found one of these.  It’s still in a plastic bag inside the Kartell box and is nicely white. 

4690 vase, white 4690 vase box

My Stoppino 4690 vase.

4690 vase, bottom

Above:  The bottom of the vase.  There’s the injection molding stub, twice, “4690” embossed in the ovals, and the imprint shown below.

4690 vase imprint

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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Tangle toy sculpture | Richard Zawitz | Tangle Creations, United States of America | 1981

Richard Zawitz Tangle Richard Zawitz
Tangle Creations, United States of America, 1981

Richard X. Zawitz grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the 1960s. It was there that his studies of Asian philosophy and art began with scholar, teacher, and mentor, Chan Wing-tsit. Like many of his era, he looked toward the far east for inspiration. In 1972, he graduated from the University of Hawaii with a major in Fine Arts Sculpture and sub-majors in Asian Art History and Asian Philosophy, with an emphasis on Chinese Taoism, Zen Buddhism, and Tantric and Cosmic Art.  Here is his personal online presence.

In travelling after graduation to Japan, India, Nepal, and Tibet, Zawitz encountered the “Tibetan infinite knot,” a pattern of interwoven lines with neither beginning nor end symbolic of infinite life, creation, and eternity. Forms that evoke cosmic energy and infinity such as helical twists and spirals are the cornerstone of much of his work.
Tibetan infinite knot

Two works of art led to the Tangle. The first, his graduate work in 1972, was the single spiral “First Twist.” The second, in 1975 was the double spiral “Column of Infinity.” A model of this second statue was constantly messed with by visitors to his studio, much like visitors to my abode mess with the Zawitz sculpture on my coffee table.

Tangle sculpture Zawitz Tangle toy sculpture on my coffee table.

Recognizing the magnetic power of his work, Zawitz endeavored to share it, while at the same time making everyone into a sculptor. The artist was transformed into toy inventor. He found a plastics factory in Asia that could deliver to his demanding specifications at an affordable price, he had molds made, and he began to manufacture his piece. He dubbed his work “Tangle” and dubbed the art of playing with it “tangling.”

He copyrighted the work in 1981 and applied for a patent in 1982. Requiring a utility for the patent, it was billed as an “Annular support device with pivotal segments.” Patent number 4,509,929, the first page and link to the complete patent shown below, was granted in 1985.  He started a company “Tangle Toys” which in 2008 became “Tangle Creations.” An article on Zawitz and the Tangle, “The Versatility of Vision” gives an interesting take on the artist.  Work of abstract sculptors with similar influences as Zawitz and compiled by C. H. Séquin can be found here.

Tangle patentThe first page of the United States “Annular support device with pivotal segments” patent, number 4,509,929.  The rest of the patent can be found here.

The Tangle has exploded into ubiquity with over 100 million sold worldwide. It is available in all different shapes, sizes, and colors, and as promotional items. The museum piece is approximately $70 and is composed of 17 interconnected bent, right angles 5 inches in length. It is made of chromed ABS plastic. You can spend a lot of time twisting and turning it into different shapes, making a striking table art display or centerpiece. You can also nest smaller versions inside of larger ones for a neat effect. The “Statue of Infinity,” shown below, is limited to an edition of 25 and is the largest scale work. Made of stainless steel, it takes four people to efficiently move.

Statue of Infinity 

Zawitz, in partnership with Pierandrei Associati, Technodelta Srl of Milano, and Baci & Abbracci have joined together to co-produce and launch a unique line of sculpture-based furniture and an innovative lighting system based on the sculpture of Richard Zawitz. Art, Sky and Sun (two armchairs and a lighting system) are the first results. Zawitz’ latest commission is for a new community development project in Dubai.

Tangle furniturePromotional image from Baci & Abbracci Design.


Thomson, J. (Winter, 2005). The versatility of vision. World Sculpture News, 11 (1), 32-35.

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

On/off switch | Tobias Wong | Areaware, United States of America | 2004

Tobias Wong On/off switch Tobias Wong
Areaware, United States of America, 2004

Not every one of my favorite plastic designs is European.  This most impressive item comes from the United States via Tobias Wong and Areaware.

Tobias Wong was born in 1974 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  He studied art at Cooper Union in New York City, where he graduated in sculpture.  As he explains himself, he…

…pursues his own brand of conceptualism, the self-coined "paraconceptual," and "post-interesting," and uses design as a medium to expose the similarities between art and design, rather than to blur their boundaries.  He is the first to note that his work "continually questions the notion of authorship, the role of the artist and the value of art.  He is uncomfortable with uniqueness and preciousness as well as ownership.”

For example, he made a doorstop of twelve pounds worth of  concrete cast inside the iconic Savoy vase by Alvar Aalto, which is smashed to reveal the new object.  His designs have been exhibited at museums including New York's Museum of Modern Art and Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.

Savoy doorstop

There is a limited edition of 12 doorstops. Available from CITIZEN:Citizen and Matter for $3,500.

On/off chrome          On/off gold

Left, in chrome, available from Areaware for $150.  Right, in gold plate, available from Areaware for $250.

Functional and intriguing, I’ve had my eye on this design for a while.  I’ve fitted my loft with X-10 from SmartHome, but there is one lamp I kept off the grid.  Not any more.  The components of the On/off switch come very well packed, placed in plastic bags in a cardboard box containing foam compartments and cardboard dividers.  Short of an absolute catastrophe, nothing is going to happen to the contents.

There is the main switch unit, a white block that contains the electronics with a chrome or gold face plate (to taste) and your standard, everyday toggle switch, all contained in an acrylic box 3.25 by 4 by 6 inches in size.  The top of the box is held fast by magnets but remains easy to open.  You have to remove the faceplate with a flat head screwdriver to install a 9 volt battery.  My battery was DOA and had a 6-2009 expiration date, so maybe mine was sitting around for awhile before purchase.

There is a remote module that gets plugged into an outlet and the device you want to control – not a good idea to control appliances, stick to lamps – gets plugged into the remote module.  This module is the Heath/Zenith SL-6136 RX.  By the way, now you can go ahead and make your own switch.  I think Toby would be proud.  Needless to say, it worked like a charm.  The toggle switch now controls the lamp.

The gold plate is some sort of limited edition, to 500 from what I’ve read.  I got mine from the MoMA store, where it was on sale after the holidays.  While I was at it, I got another for a friend’s birthday.  They say limited too even though they’re chrome, mine being 90; his being 89 out of 500.  Maybe it’s because these are the reissue?  The date on the back is 2008.  Yes, the switch has already gone through the in production/out of production/back in production cycle.

Tobias Wong On/off switch

Front and back of the On/off switch.

On/off switch boxHere’s the box.

On/off switch componentsAll of the components.  Lucite box and top and remote module.

On/off switch imprintThis is the underside of the switch.  “light switch, 2008.  Edition 90/500”.

On/off switch The On/off switch in its normal position.  Within arm’s reach.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Chiringuito Twister | Ron Arad | Alessi, Italy | 2004

Ron Arad Chiringuito twister Ron Arad
Alessi, Italy, 2004

Ron Arad was born in Tel Aviv, Israel in 1951 to artist parents. He studied at the Jerusalem Academy of Art from 1971 to 1973. He moved to London, England and studied from 1974 to 1979 at the prestigious Architectural Association, which promotes avant-garde architecture and design. There, Ron Arad studied with Peter Cook, founder of Archigram. He established several architecture and design firms thereafter.

Arad is well represented in museum collections including the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Vitra Design Museum in Germany amongst others. He may be big into sheet metal but he’s also done plenty of design in plastic. Arad’s architectural projects include the Tel Aviv opera in Israel, the development of a concept of sport cafes for Adidas and the new flagship Adidas stadium, Paris, and the Maserati Headquarters showroom in Italy. Here is a a more complete cv.

Chiringuito twisterThe best way to see what’s going on with the Twister is a close up view, so here it is. Parallel ridges are present throughout the entire length of the Twister, except for a 3.1 cm length 5.2 cm from the top of the object where they run perpendicular. At the handle near the end, it says on alternate sides “ALESSI ITALY” and “RON ARAD 2004”. The spacing of the ridges and grooves is such that the parallel and perpendicular ridges fit perfectly inside one another. When two Twisters are held against each other at a right angle, the action of one against the other is essentially a gearing mechanism that causes both Twisters to, well, twist. Hopefully, one of them is hip deep in your drink, stirring away.

Ron Arad is a designer responsible for a lot of objects. Visit his web presence. While on the exterior humble, the Chiringuito Twister stirrer, released as part of the Alessi Spring/Summer 2004 collection, captures a simple elegance and some cool mechanics. Alberto Gozzi acted as design consultant. The pair of stirrers along with a mixing glass with strainer and a cocktail shaker make up the Chiringuito Bar Collection. The stirrer pair has the designation RA08 AZ (AZ for blue) and is made of a translucent blue polycarbonate. The stirrers have uniquely ribbed stems that work one against the other to spin and stir your favorite cocktail. The stirrers are 25.2 cm in length.

Other items in the set include the matching mixing glass with strainer, RA09, which is 4.3” x 3” x 6” tall and holds a volume of 0.14 gallons (2.2 cups) and the cocktail shaker in stainless steel, RA10 is 3" x 3" x 10" tall and holds a volume of 0.15 gallons (2.5 cups).

The set was described promotionally as follows:

Ron Arad has excelled himself creating a small family of objects that, as usual, are not only heavily iconic on the aesthetic plane, but each is hallmarked by an innovative, curious performance: The twisted shape of the shaker should make you think that the liquid inside is going to ‘twist’, then there is the spindle-type movement of the stirrer.

The entire bar collection is shown below.

Ron Arad bar collection

Chiringuito twisterAbove: Image source. The “how to,” as if you needed it…

I would be remiss if I did not include a video of the action, which also afforded me the excuse to stir a solidly delicious vodka tonic this past Friday night.

The list price on the stirrers was in the $20 range. They are not easy to find new and are out of stock at Alessi’s site, though the link still shows up. Fitzsu has them at $21.

Chiringuito twister box label

Above: Scan of the box label. Below: Both sides of the box insert, including instructions.

Chiringuito twister insert


Anonymous, (2000). Ron Arad, artist, designer, and architect. Retrieved February 13, 2009, from designboom Web site: http://www.designboom.com/eng/interview/arad.html

Anonymous, Ron Arad. Retrieved February 13, 2009, from Ketterer Kunst Web site: http://www.kettererkunst.com/bio/ron-arad-1951.shtml

Arad, R. (2002). Retrieved February 13, 2009, from The Gallery Mournams Web site: http://www.thegallerymourmans.com/archive/biography-arad.pdf

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Friday, February 13, 2009

Ciotola | Anna Castelli Ferrieri | Kartell, Italy | 1976

Anna Castelli Ferrieri Ciotola Anna Castelli Ferrieri
Kartell, Italy, 1976

Designed in 1976 by Anna Castelli Ferrieri and in production until 1981, these objects have definite similarities to the “Domed Containers” discussed previously here. The Ciotola, or bowl, series comes in a range of sizes and three colors, the colors of the Italian flag: green, white, and red, just as the domed containers do. This series is quite rare, too. Like the domed containers, they were also originally marketed with bases and lids as separate items. Flat lids and domed lids are interchangeable, so it is possible for bowls to be covered with domed lids, but this combination would be unusual. Both the bowls and flat lids are made from injection molded ABS.

The bowls are cylinders with a rounded base. A 2 mm raised, circular ridge at the bottom of the bowl (see image below) makes it appear like the bowl is floating on whatever surface it’s set on. There is an imprint on the bowl that reads:

Kartell ® 710X



Anna Castelli Ferrieri Ciotola imprint

Anna Castelli Ferrieri Ciotola box

Image source. For sale ¥6,800 = $75. 7102 bowl and box.

The flat lids are labeled:

Kartell ® 731X



I don’t know if a lid of any kind exists for the larger bowls, hence the “?” in the table below.

Kartell designations for Ciotola components

height diameter bowl flat lid domed lid
7 cm 12 cm 7101 7312 7322
8 cm 14 cm 7102 7313 7323
10 cm 18 cm 7103 7314 7324
12 cm 22 cm 7104 7315 7325
14 cm 26 cm 7105 ? ?
16 cm 30 cm 7106 ? ?

Anna Castelli Ferrieri Ciotola and boxesAnna Castelli Ferrieri Ciotola and boxesAbove: Three images from retromodern.com (website currently unavailable). Top two pictures, 6 x 7101 bowl and 7106 bowl $225. Bottom picture, 7104 bowl with 7315 flat lid $165.

Anna Castelli Ferrieri Ciotola and boxes7103 bowl in red, 7104 bowl in green, 7106 bowl in white. Note bowl color indicated by sticker.

Anna Castelli Ferrieri Flat lids and boxes7314 flat lids in white and red, 7315 flat lid in red.

More information about or images of this series would be greatly appreciated, especially the existence of larger sized bowls and flat lids.

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Domed Containers | Anna Castelli Ferrieri | Kartell, Italy | 1973

Anna Castelli Ferrieri domed containers Anna Castelli Ferrieri
Kartell, Italy, 1973

Anna Castelli Ferrieri domed containers My Anna Castelli Ferrieri domed container group (the containers 7301/2/3/4 and the domed lids 7321/2/3/4). Pay no attention to the helmet ice bucket. Nothing to see here.

I’ve changed my mind.  I think I’ll go with the Kartell Museum site for her birthday: Anna Castelli Ferrieri was born in 1920 (though the New York Times says 1918). She studied architecture at Milan Polytechnic Institute from 1938 until 1943, from which she was one of the first women to graduate. In 1943 she married Giulio Castelli, a chemical engineer. In 1946 she founded an architecture practice. She and her husband founded Kartell in 1949. In 1949 Anna Castelli Ferrieri took part for the first time in the Congrès Internationale d'Architecture Moderne (CIAM), of which she was also a co-organizer. In 1952, she became a member of the Istituto Nazionale di Urbanistica. In 1956, she co-founded the Associazione per il Disegno Industriale (ADI). She was primarily an architect until the mid 1960s, and quite a successful one. Some of her architectural projects are listed here, notably the Kartell headquarters building in Binasco outside of Milan.

Anna Castelli Ferrieri worked in industrial design starting in the mid 1960s, designing objects for Kartell as well as Apelli e Varesio, Artex, Lanerossi, Nirvana, Oltolinie, Sambonet, and Ycami. In 1966, Anna Castelli Ferrieri became a design consultant with Kartell. She participated at the exhibition “Italy: the New Domestic Landscape” at the Museum of Modern Art in New York with several pieces including the modular “Componobili” storage system (4970/84), still in production today. In 1976, she became art director of Kartell. She twice received the “Compasso d'Oro” prize, in 1987 (K 4870 chair for Kartell) and in 1994 (Hannah flatware for Sambonet).

K 4870 chair             Hannah flatware Left: I couldn’t find a good link to the K 4870 chair, so here is a picture from eBay. Right: Hannah flatware. Image source.

In 1991, Anna Castelli Ferrieri's “Interfacce della materia: Esperienze Progettuali: Sedie e Comportamenti” (The Interfaces of Material: Design Experiments: Chairs and Behavior) was published, in which she calls for responsible behavior on the part of designers.

Anna Castelli Ferrieri died in 2006 following complications from lung disease.

The “Domed Containers” designed by Anna Castelli Ferrieri come in five (maybe six?) sizes and three colors, the colors of the Italian flag: green, white, and red. The series is quite rare and was originally marketed with bases and lids as separate items. Flat lids and domed lids are interchangeable, but the domed lids are the ones that give the hot look. Both the containers and domed lids are made from injection molded ABS.

Anna Castelli Ferrieri domed containers This group of 3 was for sale at $445. (Link dead for now, retromodern.com is updating their site)

Anna Castelli Ferrieri domed containersAnother domed container group (7301/2/4 and 7321/2/4). This time in red. Thanks Jorge.

The containers are cylinders that have the same height as they do diameter. A 1 mm lip recessed at the bottom of the cylinder makes it appear like the container is floating on whatever surface it’s set on. It’s a nice touch. For the container, the number label appears only on the box. The imprint on the container reads, “Kartell per alimenti Made in Italy” in a circle around the injection molding stub. The domed lids are labeled


Kartell ® 732X



Even though this listing is for the domed containers, the flat lids of series 731X also fit, as shown below.

Anna Castelli Ferrieri domed containers with flat lid Left: 7304 container, 7314 flat lid. Right: 7324 domed lid.

There is another, container that has a rounded base instead of a straight base, the 710X series called “Ciotola.” For these rounded bowls, there is a model 7106 that has a diameter of 30 cm! I don’t know if a cylindrical container or lid of any kind exists for this item, hence the “?” in the table below. The bowls will be the subject of the next post.

Kartell designations for domed container components

height diameter container flat lid domed lid
10 cm 10 cm 7301 7311 7321
12 cm 12 cm 7302 7312 7322
14 cm 14 cm 7303 7313 7323
18 cm 18 cm 7304 7314 7324
22 cm 22 cm 7305 7315 7325
26 cm or 30 cm ? 26 cm or 30 cm ? ? ? ?

More information about or images of this series would be greatly appreciated, especially the existence of larger sized containers and domed lids.


Iovine, J.V. (2006, June 28). Anna Castelli Ferrieri, 87, Force in Postwar Modern Italian Design, Dies . Retrieved January 26, 2009, from New York Times Web site: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/28/arts/design/28ferrieri.html

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