Friday, December 31, 2010

Cortez | Unknown designer | Finesse Originals, United States of America | ca. late 1960s

I’m going to post some more Finesse Originals wall sculptures that I’ve found lately.  They’re not mine, I wouldn’t have the wall space to hang them all!  But they’re interesting nonetheless, especially the gigantic ones.  Finesse did not only make these behemoths, they also made smaller sculptures. 

Some information about Finesse was provided by the seller of the piece shown below:  “In 1965 a U.S. federal trademark registration was filed for Finesse Originals. Finesse Displays, Inc. owned this trademark for three dimensional wall decorations and wall sculptures. The trademark expired in 1985.” 

Cortez.  This wall art was described by the seller with information that it was shown in “a 1968 Finesse originals catalog. It is titled #219 Cortez and sold then for $62.00.” 

In five pieces, the centerpiece is 32 ½” in diameter.  It is accompanied by four smaller pieces, each 13 ¾” in diameter.  Approximately 4” deep.  Offered at $300 but did not sell and has been relisted.  Image source:  eBay (user lycntrp).

Finesse Originals wall sculpture Finesse Originals wall sculpture Finesse Originals wall sculpture Finesse Originals wall sculpture

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Programma Vastill planters | Prof. D. Chiaudrero | Vastill, Itlay | 1970s | UPDATE

An update to my post of June 1, 2009, the Programma Vastill planters by Michael McCann.  This is a design by Vastill I have not encountered before.  It’s also in lots of different colors:  white, yellow, orange, green, and black.  Designed by Prof. D. Chiaudrero, it is called “Domino.” The individual planters can interlock.

Imprint on Vastill Domino planterImprint on the Vastill Domino planter, with original sticker.

These Domino planters are 6” long by 3 1/2” wide and  3 1/2” tall, which is approximately the middle (“Junior”) size of the Programma Vastill planters.  There is no indication these planters were made in any size other than what is shown here.

All of the planters were on 10 day auction ending 12/21/2010 with a starting bid of $9.99.  The vases were sold from Canada; shipping to the United States added $8.00.
Color Bids Bidders Final Bid
White 6 6 $38.00
Yellow 6 4 $38.00
Orange 6 4 $38.00
Green 4 4 $38.00
Black 13 6 $44.00

Vastill Domino planter collectionVastill Domino planter collection  Image source (all in this post):  eBay.  User modernhipster.

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Enzo Mari | Danese, Italy | UPDATE

Two new auction results.  First, an original Pago Pago vase in yellow and “In vibrant yellow plastic.  Excellent condition with superficial signs of use on the base.”  One bid and one bidder.  Sold on 12/09/2010 for $210 + $14.85 shipping.

Pago Pago vase, yellowPago Pago vase.  Image source:  eBay.

Second, an In Attesa basket in green (the same one that was sold on 11/23/2010?) Four bids and four bidders.  Sold on 12/15/2010 for $32.00 + $9.92 shipping.

In Attesa wastebasket, green In Attesa wastebasket, green  In Attesa wastebasket.  Image source:  eBay.

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Friday, December 17, 2010

Latina citrus juicer | Lorenzo Gecchelin | Guzzini, Italy | 2002

Lorenzo Gecchelin Latina juicerLatina citrus juicer
Guzzini, Italy, 2002

Lorenzo Gecchelin was born in Milan on June 22, 1971.  He graduates in 1995 from the Milan Polytechnic.  Gecchelin designed the Latina juicer (Spremiagrumi) for Fratelli Guzzini in 2002.  It won the Compasso d’Oro award in 2004. Compasso d'Oro

The Latina has everything you’d expect from a juicer.  But it’s the design that takes a standard kitchen and bar object to the next level.  The container is angled to allow juice to collect.  Teeth will filter pulp and seeds. It is made from Styrene Acrylonitrile (SAN) plastic.  Rubber feet hold it steady and prevent any scratching.

Guzzini logo

The Latina citrus juicer is given the designation 2322.00 00 by Guzzini and is 112mm tall and 188mm by 175mm with a weight of approximately 200g.

Latina citrus juicer

The Latina citrus juicer.

Latina citrus juicer catalog information Information from the catalog entry for the Latina citrus juicer.  For a pdf catalog of the entire Latina line, click here.

Why it’s called the Latina is a bit of a mystery, perhaps because it looks sombrero-like?  The Latina juicer is still available at numerous retailers.  The most common price is $38.99.  Expensive for a juicer, but worth it for one that looks so good?


Retrieved December 16, 2010 from Guzzini Web Site: http://www.fratelliguzzini.com/en/DesignerAH.aspx

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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Elvis table lamp | Charles Williams | FontanaArte, Italy | 1998

Elvis table lamp Elvis table lamp
FontanaArte, Italy, 1998

The Elvis table lamp is a contemporary table lamp designed by Charles Williams for FontanaArte in 1998. The lamp uses one 100W A19 Medium E26/27 incandescent bulb. Light is diffused through a blue methacrylate shade with embedded fabric.

Elvis table lamp, blue and white   Elvis table lamp in blue and white.  Image source:  FontanaArte.

The retail price on the lamp is $1,032.00 but it is available from numerous outlets at a discount.  The Elvis table lamp is 23.2” (59 cm) tall by 13.4” (34 cm) wide by 7.1” (18 cm) deep.

Elvis table lamp, schematic     Schematic of Elvis table lamp.  Image source:  FontanaArte.

In addition to the table lamp, there was also a floor lamp and sconces having two different configurations.  All were available in white or blue.

Fontana Arte logo

FontanaArte was founded by architect Gio Ponti in 1932 as an artistic division of the company Luigi Fontana.  Historically, the company was a leader in advanced glass manufacturing and design. The design company's works were first distinguished by its stained-glass windows, many of which today adorn churches and cathedrals, amongst them the Milan Cathedral (Duomo di Milano) and the Cathedral of Brasilia (Catedral Metropolitana Nossa Senhora Aparecida). By using glass, Ponti realized what an enormous potential this material could offer in the making of furnishing complements for interiors.

Urged by this intuition he stated to design and produce furniture, lamps, and objects featuring glass. In a short time a new collection was ready to be marketed, and his new design concept was being used as a complement to the interior decoration of many houses that he personally designed.  The vision eventually expanded to include a much greater diversity of materials.  Click here for the FontanaArte US Master Catalog 2010/2011 as a pdf file.

Elvis lamp methacrylate shade                                      Elvis lamp methacrylate shade.

 Elvis table lamp, technical data sheet   Elvis table lamp technical data sheet (from 2010/2011 catalog). 


Retrieved November 20, 2010 from All Modern Lighting Web Site: http://www.allmodernlighting.com/FontanaArte-M5265-P5267-BL-fon1014.html

Retrieved November 20, 2010 from FontanaArte Web Site: http://www.fontanaartestore.com/media/downloads_page/FontanaArte_US_Master_Catalogue_2010_2011.zip

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

In Attesa wastebasket | Enzo Mari | Danese, Italy | 1970 | UPDATE

Enzo Mari In Attesa wastebasketEnzo Mari
Danese, Italy, 1970

An update to my post of September 11, 2009, the In Attesa wastebasket by Enzo Mari for Danese.  There were 3 bidders and 6 bids.  The winning bid was $50.99 (+$15.18 shipping).  This In Attesa was sold on 11/23/2010 from Washington.  It’s the first color In Attesa on eBay in a while.

Described by the seller: “great vintage trash can is 16” tall, 10” across top. Used condition with wear to bottom, some surface scratches from use. There is a tight crack in the bottom that is approx 3” long. It was hard to see.”

In Attesa wastebsaket, green                                                 Image source:  eBay.

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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Grande and Venti to-go cold cups | Starbucks, United States of America | 2009

Last posted about July 14, 2010.  The to-go cold cups are back, even though it’s late November.  Sure it’s on the chilly side to enjoy icy beverages but there was still this line-up at the Starbucks down the street.  And with festive candy cane straws!  At the store there was one Venti cup remaining (maybe a holdover from the summer?) and the rest were Grande.  Doesn’t look like Venti is available on the Starbucks website.

Starbucks To-go cold cups

From the Starbucks Store website:

Grande Candy Cane Cold Cup Tumbler by Starbucks Coffee

Back in stock... but only for a limited time! Enjoy your favorite beverage in this classic Holiday Cold Cup Tumbler with Candy Cane straw. The 16-oz. Grande Cup is double walled with a twist-on lid.

  • BPA Free
  • Dishwasher Safe
  • For Cold Beverages Only

Starbucks Store, to-go cup               Grande Candy Cane Cold Cup $12.95 (SKU 317161)

Or, if you want the “Complete Grande Cold Cup Gift Set” which comes with a Grande Cold Cup, lid and holiday straw  and a 4 pack of Green Grande Straws:

Complete Grande 5-pc set $16.60 (SKU 321529)

And for those of you that like crazy whipped cream drinks (unfortunately this one is out of stock):  Your favorite To-Go cup now has an extra lid available. Now you can take your cold cup to work or on the road without spilling. Plus you can top it off! The added room is the perfect opportunity to add whip cream to your favorite cold beverage. One size dome lid fits both sizes - Grande and Venti cold cups.

Domed cold cup lid Domed Cold Cup Lid $2.95 (SKU 311897)

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Poseidon mirror (variety) | Unknown designer | Finesse Originals, United States of America | 1970s(?)

Not really an update so much as this is a variety of the Poseidon mirror I posted about on May 5, 2010.  This is essentially the same mirror without the scallops/waves that serve as a border. 

Lot 301 in Antique Helper’s October 30, 2010 Art & Antiques, Mission to Modern & Tribal Art auction was a “Finesse Originals fantasy themed mirror, Poseidon et al.”  It was estimated at $800-1,200 but I presume it did not sell as the realized price was indicated at $0.

The lot was described as

Finesse Originals fantasy themed mirror, Poseidon et al; circa 1970s molded fiberglass resin mayhem with the God of the Sea battling Athena for control of Athens (she wins). Gilt putti and hippocamps swirl around the smoked looking glass. 38” Diam. Good.

Poseidon mirror, Finesse Originals (no waves)

Poseidon mirror, Finesse Originals

Above:  Without waves.  Below:  With waves from May 5, 2010 post.

Poseidon mirror, Finesse Originals (no waves) Poseidon mirror, Finesse Originals (no waves)

Above:  Back view of mirror without waves.  Below:  Finesse Originals signature.

Antique Helper, Inc. is an Indianapolis, Indiana based auction house specializing in selling antiques, modern design, collectibles and fine art.  Founded in 2001, Antique Helper was a pioneer in the field of online auctions that run simultaneously with traditional live auctions.  Check them out – they do a couple of auctions  each month.

Antique Helper logo

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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Cronotime clock | Pio Manzù | Ritz Italora, Italy | 1966

Pio Manzu, Cronotime clockPio Manzù
Cronotime clock
Ritz Italora, Italy, 1966

Pio Manzù (also known as  Pio Manzoni) was born in Bergamo, Italy in 1939 and died in an automobile accident in Brandizzo, Italy on May 26, 1969.  He was the son of renowned sculptor Giacomo Manzù and his first wife Tina.

After graduating high school in Milan, Pio Manzu studied at the Hochschule für Gestaltung in Ulm and was the first Italian to graduate.  While still a student in 1962, he won first prize with Michael Conrad an International Competition “Année Automobile” to design a car that would be built by Carrozzeria Pininfarina. In 1965, he presented the design of a family car: the Autonova Fam and two years later, again with Conrad, he won a competition in Hamburg, (West) Germany for the design of a city bus.  Beginning in 1967, he became  a consultant to Fiat, which gave him the confidence and ability to freely plan, experiment, and design. He designed the City Taxi el’Autobianchi Coupe, and eventually the  Model 127 for Fiat. At the same time, he continued at Ulm as an assistant.  In the late 1960s, he designed the Cronotime clock for a Fiat year-end present, which was later issued by Ritz Italora and later still reissued by Alessi. 

He collaborated with Achille Castiglioni on the Parentisi lamp (Flos, 1970), which contains enough plastic to show up on this blog…look for it soon.

Original Cronotime clock, whiteOriginal Cronotime clock in white.  Note imprint at bottom on dial instead of “Alessi”  above where the hands meet.  Image source:  eBay.

Original Cronotime clock, red Original Cronotime clock, red Original Cronotime clock in red.  Sold on 11/12/2010 from Paris, France for 110 € ($ 150). Image source:  eBay.

Original Cronotime clock label, whiteOriginal Cronotime clock label, redRitz Italora label on original Cronotime clock.  Above, white.  Below, red.  Image source:  eBay.

Original cronotime clock mechanismClock mechanism of original Cronotime clock.  Image source:  eBay.

With Google Translate’s help and my cursory knowledge of German, I’ve done my best to translate an article in Form magazine that talks about the Cronotime clock.  It made the cover of the magazine in May, 1969.  Originally made for Fiat as a giveaway, Ritz Italora began production in 1968.  Form is a great magazine by the way, and its archives are available online.  Click the link below to check it out.

form design logo

May, 1969 Form cover May, 1969 Form p.14

Clock with a twist: flexible “Cronotime”
The movable housing orients the dial

The Fiat factory sent out the Cronotime clock as an annual gift, and for this purpose it was originally designed.  The Cronotime is a clock with a moveable housing, that is, it has a changing body shape.

What appears initially as a gimmick turns out in practice as very well thought out and useful. Instead of an adjustable mechanism or movable feet, in the Cronotime the most favorable view is accomplished by a small twist: The two parts of the housing are movable and can be rotated against each other, resulting in different orientations of the clock and  the desired viewing angle. The dial can be set by moving the upper ring at the same time with the movement. This part can be easily pulled out and contains a button on the back, which - pressed - is used to set the time, pulled out to turn off the clock.

Because this amusing technical and formal solution, table clock as “Fiat-present,” found so large a response, the Italian department store La Rinascente decided to make the Cronotime part of its catalog - its price: 9,500 lire.
(In Germany, it will soon be offered by  Bisterfeld + Weiss, Stuttgart.)

May, 1969 Form p.15

The Cronotime flexible clock consists of three parts together: the two rotatably connected housing parts made of molded ABS plastic and the dial ring as a carrier for the transistor battery-movement with a sight glass made of Makrolon.

The assembly is held together with no screws, only by pressure, as is the movement for time regulation with a simple locking mechanism easily reached.

Their colors: white, yellow, red and black, the dial in white or black.

A letter published in the December, 1969 issue of Form indicated that while 9,500 lire (approximately 60 Marks) was the price indicated by the earlier article, the German store was selling them for 125 Marks. 

Cronotime MoMA ad, 2007 From the MoMA store, 2007

The casing of the Cronotime clock is made of ABS polymer with metal clockwork.  The clock is  8.5 cm tall by 7 cm in diameter.  It features a modernist face with austere, bold numerals.  Halfway down the base is a swivel that allows the relative position of the face of the clock to change.  The Cronotime clock has been reissued by Alessi and is available new in black and orange for around $78 from many retailers.  It was also reissued in white.

Alessi reissue of Cronotime clockWhat you get when you buy the Alessi reissue of the Cronotime Clock.  Image source:  eBay.

 Alessi reissue of Cronotime clock, black

Alessi reissue of Cronotime clock, black Alessi reissue of Cronotime clock in black.  Image source:  eBay.

Cronotime clock configurations

Cronotime clock configurations

Cronotime clock configurations

Cronotime clock configurations

Different configurations of the Cronotime clock.  Image source:  Relax Living.

Alessi reissue of Cronotime clock, orange

Alessi reissue of Cronotime clock, orange

Alessi reissue of Cronotime clock in orange.  Image source:  Century Design Shop, RAIRAI Online.  Below:  removial of clock face from tube.

Alessi reissue of Cronotime clock, chromeAlessi reissue of Cronotime clock in chrome.  Image source:  Relax Living.

Selected Bibliography

Ambasz, E., ed. (1972). Italy: The new domestic landscape:  Achievements and problems of Italian design. New York, NY: Museum of Modern Art, NY, p.72. 


Retrieved November 10, 2010 from GAMeC Web Site:  Pio Manzu e l’Industrial Design, http://www.gamec.it/Files/PDF/Didattica/PioManzu/PM_secondarie_intero.pdf 

Eine Uhr mit dreh: flexible “cronotime”. (May, 1969). Form, 46, 14-15.

Manipulationen mit der flexiblen Cronotime?. (December, 1969). Form, 48, 76.

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