take a seat


09.03.2012 ways of seating Paola Treppo

From garden walls to ebony chairs in the hotels of Edinburgh

He blew out his “first” 91 candles last February 11th, but beyond his age the famous designer Ottavio Missoni remains a child: enchanted by nature and distinguished, as with many artists, by the eternal amazement of those who are moved by beauty, as if discovering it for the first time. And even when you ask him about his relationship with comfort, with the world of chairs, he evokes spontaneously, in an instant, images and sensations that have more to do with emotions than with the practicality of a furnishing element that is functional yet with high design content. “As a boy I amused myself and liked walking in the parks, and if my girlfriend was with me, better yet. Staying close to one another, sitting on the benches, in the green shade of the trees in the fresh air.” Without a care. And always enchanted. “We used to go then to the countryside and lean against a garden wall, perhaps in stone. Maybe even a bit uncomfortably. But so special, giving us a place to watch the comings and goings of hard-working ants...”



And as an adult? If you ever were one? “The chair becomes very important, even if we pay little attention to it. It is everywhere and always useful. Even if I must say that not everyone understands how uncomfortable it can be at times. Certain restaurants for example, not all of them... yes, certain restaurants must even have waiters to move them to place you better under the table, given that they are so heavy and difficult to shift. Rather uncomfortable.”

What to do then? “Create light and stable chairs that combine robustness and ease of handling. Beautiful and comfortable, yes, also to watch.” When he designs, Missoni, and he hurries to emphasise that he does so only with markers and graph paper “like those they use at school”, he rarely does it on his feet, in his studio. “Ah yes, I need a soft chair that I can raise up, even if it has no wheels. Then the backrest... and then it depends upon the moment.” At home instead, chairs assume a different function and connotation: “to be comfortable, be together and have a coffee. We all drink coffee at the table, in the family.”



Missoni and colour: two words that he has made famous throughout the world. “The chair and colour? It is an important relationship, yes. So much so that my wife, Rosita, decided to choose the chairs personally and all in different wood, according to the situation. Cherry for the house in which we live, ash for our lodgings in Milan, river oak in Sardinia, ebony for the Missoni Hotels in Edinburgh and maple, finally, for the Missoni Hotels in Kuwait. She made these decisions. They are Danish chairs, very beautiful and robust. I like them very much.” And what does he think about the seats produced in our Chair District? “Certainly I must have met many of them during my travels. But they never had the shrewdness to... present themselves.” 


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Periodico online registrato presso il Tribunale di Udine il 28 gennaio 2012 n° 1