"It is easy to guess that Ron Arad, architect, designer and frontier artist, already inhabited my wish drawer," says President Vittorio Alpi. "Arad decided to design three seats of the BTT series using sheets of our wood in two different colours. The result is astonishing, and shows how Ron manages with ease to enter new worlds and master them, maintaining 'in toto' his elegance, his subversive and witty style."
Between industrial design and contemporary art
Ron Arad has been working for decades between industrial design and contemporary art. In this project he dwells on a reflection that he wanted to tell with the creation of three new one-off objects designed for Alpi: to give space and material to the sculptural soul that is hidden inside the supporting structures of the designs and that no one has the chance to admire.
A lattice structure of woods
"When the company approached me for this project, I wanted to create something that celebrated what they make, so I thought of something that was composed of a lattice structure of woods," the designer explains. "It is not dissimilar to things I have done before in corten steel. The extra element is the materiality, plus the fact that you can have a different colour for each side of the board. So a piece that looks blue on one side, turning around it looks red."
Three furnishings laid bare
Arad, in collaboration with the company's research department, lays bare three of its most iconic furnishings, extracts their essence and interprets them with wood. Three wooden structures that shape volume in a three-dimensional play of shapes and colours. Starting from the designs of the Big Easy, Voido and Thumbprint seats, the three new objects, protagonists of the exhibition If I were a Carpenter, are born.
Soft, sinuous lines
If I Were A Carpenter - Big Easy is inspired by the iconic Big Easy steel armchair designed in 1988 and considered by critics to be a true work of art rather than an industrial product, an armchair of imposing dimensions, made up of soft lines, two large armrests and sinuous shapes, all conceived as a monobloc body. The wood comes in two colours: red on one side and black on the other. The effect is illusory and changeable, the tone and perception of the object changing according to the observer's point of view.
Simple and complex
Sinuous and soft shapes, typical of Ron Arad's style, also characterise If I Were A Carpenter - Oh Void which is inspired by the famous Voido rocking chair. An apparently simple product that in reality conceals great design and construction complexity. The wood is proposed in two colours: red on one side and blue on the other. The tone and perception of the object change according to the observer's point of view or the rocking position of the object.
A studied composition
As if to resemble a shell, the tilting seat If I Were A Carpenter - Southern Hemisphere reproduces one of Ron Arad's most popular objects, the armchair-sculpture Thumbprint, recognised as a work of art and in the collection of the MoMa in New York. Alpi and the designer construct a new version, made with the same construction principle as the other objects in the exhibition, in shaped wooden slats fitted together in a meticulously studied composition. The wood comes in two colours: black on one side and light grey on the other. The tone and perception of the object change depending on the observer's point of view.
To accompany the exhibition, photographer Pierpaolo Ferrari has created an eccentric project that provocatively and surrealistically interprets the strong character of the objects created by Ron Arad. The exhibition is open from Monday to Friday 10.00 - 12.30 / 14.30 - 17.00.
Set Up photos illustrating the article by Thomas Pagani. Photos in the opening and in the gallery by Pierpaolo Ferrari