Sunday, December 11, 2011

Gaudi armchair | Vico Magistretti | Artemide, Italy | 1970

Vico Magistretti Gaudi armchairVico Magistretti
Artemide, Italy, 1970

For a short biography of and more information about Vico Magistretti, check out my previous post about the Selene stacking chair.  The Gaudi armchair evolved out of the design of the earlier Selene chair.  Because the arms are integrated into the single-piece construction, perforations were required at the inner corners of the seat. The chair was manufactured by Artemide from compression moulded “Reglar” fiberglass reinforced polyester.

The Gaudi armchair is included in the permanent design collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York here and is reported as being is 29 1/8” by 21 5/8” by 23 5/8” (74 by 55 by 60 cm).  The Gaudi chair was also shown at the 1972 exhibition “Italy: the New Domestic Landscape” at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.  The other objects by Magistretti in the show are illustrated in my post about the Selene stacking chair.

Gaudi armchair US Patent

The first page of the United States “Armchair” design patent, number 226,363. The rest of the patent can be found here.

Sketch for the Gaudi armchair

Sketch for the Gaudi armchair.  Original image source:  Vico Magistretti, Elegance and innovation in Italian design (1991).

Sketch for the Gaudi armchairSketch for the Gaudi armchair

Sketches for the Gaudi armchair.  Original image source:  Vico Magistretti, Elegance and innovation in Italian design (1991).  The caption in that work read:  This armchair is a development of the Selene solution, and is made of reinforced molded resin.  The arms are an integral part of the shell, whose inner corners have been perforated to allow construction in one single mold.  Produced by Artemide.

Gaudi chair in New York Magazine

Bloomingdale’s advertisement for “Artemide at Bloomingdale’s” in the May 6, 1974 issue of New York Magazine (p. 2).  Copy reads:

Artemide.  Creating an environment for today’s living.  Furniture designs in art form.  Like contemporary sculpture.  Enduring.  Functional.  Selected by the Board of Directors for the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art.  Beautiful in its simplicity.  Reflecting today in surfaces as smooth and shiny as highly polished marble.  Moulded in polyester resin reinforced with fiberglass to resist heat and scratching.  To withstand the sun and rain when used outdoors.  Artemide.  Gleaming in white or chocolate brown.  Shown are the “Stadio” dining table, “Bacco” rolling bar, “Ara” cocktail table and the “Gaudi” arm chair.  The collection is priced from 48.00 to 425.00.  See the total Artemide concept in one of our Designer Rooms, created by Richard Knapple for Artemide, Spring 1974, on the 5th Floor, New York.  Also shown in Bergen County, Garden City, Jenkintown and Manhasset.  Bloomingdale’s, 1000 Third Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10022. 223-7111. Open late Monday and Thursday; branches open late too.


Gaudi armchair, white

Image source:  eBay


Gaudi armchair, redGaudi armchair, red  Gaudi armchair, red  Gaudi armchair, red

Image source:  vintageplus.nl, here.

GreenGaudi armchair, green

Image source:  20cdesign at 1stdibs.com.


Gaudi armchair, brownGaudi armchair, brown

Image source:  eBay


Gaudi armchair imprint, white

Image source:  eBay

Gaudi armchair imprint, red

Image source:  eBay.

 Gaudi armchair imprint, green

Image source:  20cdesign at 1stdibs.com.

Gaudi armchair imprint, brown

Image source:  eBay.

Heller rereleased the Gaudi armchair as their “New Gaudi” model 1050 in 2007 in white and black.  The chair is constructed of single piece injection molded nylon (for the colored chairs) or polycarbonate (for the transparent chair).  The dimensions of the chair are 75cm (29 1/2”) height, 59cm (23 1/4”) width, and 57.5cm (22 5/8”) depth.

New Gaudi chair technical data sheet

Technical data sheet for the Heller reissue of the Gaudi armchair, the New Gaudi chair model 1050.

Vico Magistretti Foundation

See the Vico Magistretti Foundation website for a wealth of information about the designer.

As always, check out Sorellarium 13 for all the best in plastic design from Space: 1999.  This link takes you to the page about the Gaudi armchair.

Selected Bibliography

Ambasz, E., ed., Italy: The new domestic landscape:  Achievements and problems of Italian design. New York, 1972, p.39.


Pasca, V., Vico Magistretti, Elegance and innovation in Italian design, Thames & Hudson: London (1991), p. 74.

Gaudi datasheet. Retrieved December 3, 2011 from http://www.helleronline.com/wp-content/plugins/download-monitor/download.php?id=108

Gaudi armchair. Retrieved December 3, 2011 from http://www.moma.org/collection/browse_results.php?object_id=3505

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