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  • Catalogue Essay

    Pierluigi Giordani’s cants and curves are a provocation in the face of modernism’s insistence on the straight line. His silhouettes draw inspiration from the bane of that movement, from Art Nouveau and surrealism, and from the natural world: the segmented appendages of insects, those acute angles where femurs and tibiae diverge. Giordani’s furniture is biomorphic—legs splay, arms flex—as evidenced by his upholstered walnut armchairs (lot 165) on view at Phillips de Pury. The hinge-joints of their armrests are both an expressive climax and a structural stroke of genius: the crook of the elbow is meant to cradle the elbow.
    Writing in Architettura in 1955, Luciano Rubino made mention of Giordani’s 'affinity with Hans Arp'. The remark, while perfunctory, is instructive. Giordani’s play of mass and void—his heart-shaped backrests and open arms—are reminiscent of Arp’s voluptuous contours: the tear drops, ellipses, and abrupt angles of his painted wood reliefs from the 1950s. Like Arp’s ‘Constellations’ and ‘Profiles’, Giordani’s organic and architectonic forms offer an exemplary lesson: the natural world and the built one need not be at odds.
    In this example he is similar to Gio Ponti and Carlo Mollino, compatriots and fellow architects. The furniture at hand owes a debt to Ponti’s foldable armchair produced by Cassina (1954-55) for Singer & Sons, and to Mollino’s earlier sculpted works for the Minola commissions in Turin. Like those works, Giordani’s sofa and chairs are nothing if not animated—at the slightest provocation, they threaten to pack up and walk away.



late 1950s
Walnut, fabric, brass.
81.3 x 163.8 x 80 cm. (32 x 64 1/2 x 31 1/2 in.)

£9,000 - 14,000 

Sold for £18,750


25 Sept 2008, 2pm