Art market Magazine May 2016

 
DESIGN 
 
Arflex, symbol of Italian design 
his jewel…
DESIGN

Arflex, symbol of Italian design
his jewel of Italian design undoubtedly suffers from a low profile in France. But there's a reason for this: since its creation in 1947, Arflex
has never had a real distributor in this country. An oversight now made good through the partnership established between Fausto Colombo, the company's CEO, and Siltec, the contemporary furniture firm founded by Bernard Tordjman in 1976. Arflex is virtually part of Italy's national identity. Between 1951 and 1954, Carlo Barassi, via Arflex, developed several folddown seat models for the Fiat Topolino. Exit the bale of straw; enter elastic straps and rubber foam – the

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The Arflex show-room at Siltec, 53 Rue de Miromesnil, Paris 75008. www.siltec-mobilier.com and www.arflex.it

famous gommapiuma perfected by Pirelli after the war. And then Barassi, the giant tyre engineer, founded a company with Renato Teani, Pio Reggiani and Aldo Bai, in view of promoting these new techniques with small family firms in Brianza (a region specialising in furniture production since the 19th century) in order to sell them the raw material. Its name, Ar-flex (flexible furniture) was devised by the celebrated advertiser Erberto Carboni. Later, the two words were amalgamated. The venture began in Corso di Porta Vittoria, Milan, where the first workshop and sales teams were set up. To convince the local production network to abandon springs and straw in favour of straps and Pirelli foam, prototypes had to be proposed. Enter Marco Zanuso. This young designer was one of the first in his country to see the advantage of industrialising furniture. Better still, he incorporated the issues of distribution and communication into his whole approach, becoming de facto the leading national representative of the "good design" promoted across the Atlantic. In his view,

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Arflex showroom at Siltec, Hug Love Seat (2014) by Claesson Koivisto Rune and pair of low Elettra chairs (1954) by BBPR.

© Claude Weber

Art Market Magazine May 2016
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