Alessandro Mendini - Design London Tuesday, November 9, 2021 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Private collection, Turin
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Literature

    Andrea Branzi, The Hot House: Italian New Wave Design, Cambridge, 1984, p. 126
    Mateo Kries and Jochen Eisenbrand, Atlas of Furniture Design, Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rein, 2019, p. 834
    Cindi Strauss, Radical: Italian Design 1965 – 1985: The Dennis Freedman Collection, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 2020, pp. 12, 18, 135

  • Catalogue Essay

    The present chair by radical architect and designer Alessandro Mendini is a striking example of Italian postmodern design. A prolific design thinker and critic, Mendini gave life to his views on the poetic and spiritual nature of furniture through a series of pieces called ‘Objects for Spiritual Use’ in the mid-seventies. While editor of the influential publication Casabella, he featured some of these objects on its front covers, using them as a vehicle to convey his principles of utopian design. These included the ‘Lassù’ chair (1974) which he ritualistically set on fire to subvert the conventional use of furniture and celebrate its ephemeral nature. This ‘Spaziale’ chair is a continuation of the idea that objects should have a life of their own which defies the role ascribed to them by functionalism. In 1979, Mendini joined Studio Alchimia, an interdisciplinary studio that pushed the boundaries of traditional design, where he worked with other avant-garde designers like Ettore Sottsass and Michele De Lucchi. Made from painted wood with flared legs reminiscent of the broad bases of a cosmic vehicle, this intentionally disproportionate chair was produced by the Studio circa 1978 as an edition of six. It follows Mendini’s ethos of freeing artists from prescriptive industrial design constraints in favour of playful and artisan techniques that create ‘objects with a soul’.


‘Spaziale’ chair

circa 1978
Painted wood.
85.1 x 55.2 x 56.4 cm (33 1/2 x 21 3/4 x 22 1/4 in.)
Produced by Studio Alchimia, Milan, Italy. From the edition of 6.

£10,000 - 15,000 Ω

Sold for £56,700

Contact Specialist

Antonia King
Head of Sale, Design


London Auction 9 November 2021