Iconic chair on which you already sat at least once in your life

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Fanetti, Mademoiselle albo Crinolette. Eleganckie, seksowne i z klasą. Widziałeś je lub używałeś ich przynajmniej raz w życiu, zwłaszcza jeśli mieszkasz gdzieś w Zachodniej Europie. Kim są? W zasadzie to są nazwami modeli krzeseł. Zostały stworzone przez Fińskiego projektanta Ilmari Tapiovaara w latach 50. i 60. XX wieku.

W Polsce najpopularniejszymi typami są Fanett i wspomniana Mademoiselle. Można je spotkać w wielu pubach, gdzie pełnią rolę stylizacji, lub w starych mieszkaniach na terenie całego kraju.

Tapiovaara's chairs in Resort, popular pub in the Warsaw center

Tapiovaara’s chairs in Resort, popular pub in the Warsaw center

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The legendary Bar Prasowy on Marszałkowska Street in Warsaw

The legendary Bar Prasowy on Marszałkowska Street in Warsaw

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Mimo iż na pierwszy rzut oka wydają się zbyt pospolite aby wciąż wzbudzać emocje, kszesła Tapiovaara znajdują się na mojej sekretnej must-have liści. Za każdym razem kiedy mam z nimi kontakt zadaję sobie to samo naiwne pytanie: jak kilka drewnianych szczebelków i prawie płaskie siedzisko mogą być tak wygodne i niewyszukanie eleganckie?

Myślę, że właśnie na tym polega dobre projektowanie przedmiotów. Chodzi o to aby obcowanie z nimi dawało za każdym razem to samo świeże i niepowtarzalne wrażenie. Dobre meble nigdy nie stają się „przezroczyste”, nawet po wielu latach użytkowania. Tapiovaarze udało się uzyskać ten efekt perfekcyjnie.

W tym roku przypada setna rocznica jego urodzin. Z tej okazji Muzeum Designu w Helsinkach przygotowało dużą wystawę-retrospekcję prezentującą zarówno oryginalne modele mebli z epoki jak i niepublikowane wcześniej rysunki projektanta. Ekspozycja trwa do 21 września więc macie wiele czasu aby wybrać się na nią osobiście.

Jeśli natomiast Finlandia nie będzie w najbliższym czasie celem waszych podróży to możecie przeczytać wywiad z kuratorką Salla Heino z helsińskiego Muzeum Designu, który przeprowadziłam via e-mail. Rozmawiałyśmy o dzisiejszym statusie legendarnych mebli Tapiovaary, ich niebotycznie wysokich cenach oraz znaczeniu zrównoważonego projektowania na wystawie.

Zajrzyjcie również na stronę muzeum żeby obejrzeć kilka archiwalnych zdjęć mebli i samego projektanta. Tutaj.

 

PS: Z powodu kompletnego lenistwa polskiego tłumaczenia wywiadu nie będzie.

***

 

Fanetti, Mademoiselle or Crinolette. So elegant, classy and sexy. You saw or used them at least once in your life already, especially if you live somewhere in Europe. Who are they? To be exact they are… types of chairs designed by Finnish interior architect Ilmari Tapiovaara in the 50′ and 60′.

In Poland the most popular ones are Fanett and Mademoiselle. You may see them in many pubs (used as an interior retro stylization) and old flats across the country.

Eventhough it seems to be too common to be desired, Tapiovaara’s chair is on my secret must-have list. Each time I look at or use this piece of furniture, I find myself asking the same silly question. How a few wooden sticks and almost flat seat can be so comfortable in such unobtrusive way?

I feel this is how design should be like. To keep the experience fresh. Good furniture is never transparent even after many years of using. Tapiovaara achived this effect perfectly.

The year 2014 marks the centenary of the birth of the famous designer. Due to this anniversary Design Museum in Helsinki prepared a huge exhibition covering Tapiovaara’s comprehensive works through both sketches and furniture. The show is open till 21st of September 2014 so you have planty of time to book your flight and just see the show for yourselves.

In case Finland is not your travel destination any time soon, you may just read an interview I made via e-mail with an assistant curator Salla Heino from the Museum in Helsinki. We talked about vintage value of Tapiovaara’s work, high prices of his hairs and the elements of sustainable design within the exhibition itself.

Also check out museum webside for some nice photos from their archives. Here.

 

[INTERVIEW]

Almost twenty years since his death, Tapiovaara’s furniture is extremely expensive which I feel somehow defeats his desire to produce affordable objects. Do you thing this situation would bother him much?

As I see Tapiovaara’s work, his main interest was to create quality furniture with effective and low cost production. The furniture he designed has nowadays “a vintage value”, which might annoy him, as you suggested. However, the value of good design as sustainable production with good quality is still there – one of the values which were important to Ilmari Tapiovaara.

Today his furniture is iconic but how do the stars of his designing coexists within contemporary interiors? Do they have any particular context or are they just used as regular vintages?

Tapiovaara’s design do exist in contemporary interiors – but in my opinion, especially with the newly produced furniture, there is often a great ambient of newness and freshness. Tapiovaara design is (was) so modern and it was already originally thought to be something flexible, “product families”. So to say, the same idea could be varied just a little, and then used in private and public spaces. This something which is in the air also today – flexibility in the means of simplicity.

Is it possible to think about his works as the factors of social change? Is it possible for furniture to actually do that?

Furniture, as all other aspects of consumption, are among the important factors of social change. With good planning of manufacture and materials, economics, marketing and export, furniture will be part of social change. But this of course does not mean that all the production could make social change… It also depends of time and place and the society and its structures…

In my homeland Poland, Tapiovaara’s Fanett chairs and Mademoiselle chairs were quite popular during People’s period. Most of the Poles don’t consider them as special because they were everywhere. Do you know anything about how this popularity started? 

Do those chairs have to be considered as something special? They were (are) just products, furniture, thought to be manufactured with economically effective standards and of finnish materials. Fanett especially was a everyday product, there were millions of them manufactured in Edsby factories in Sweden, and later in Finland by Asko. Mademoiselle was not as “everyday thing” as Fanett, but not a rare one either. How the popularity started… Edsby did not pay much for the rights, so they were possibly able to sell them in convenient price. And later on Asko did lots of marketing and advertising in Finland with Fanett chair.

How you understand today’s sustainable development of designing in context of the exhibition. Is it correct to consider it as an equivalent of ‘slow’ (e.g. design or food) movement? And how did you highlight it in the exhibition?

Difficult to answer with this… Well, most of the structures of the exhibition has been chosen to be recyclable, and the structures are really light. The exhibition architect considered strongly the aspects of sustainability. And the contents of the exhibition… The carrier of Tapiovaara shows us lots of different aspects of sustainability. Firstly, in the early plans with finnish, ecological and economical production with extremely well planned packages and routes of export. His ideas of “product families” and varying the same ideas, throughout his carreer, also support the ideas of sustainability. He also worked in UN projects in Paraguay and Mauritius, to improve the local society and local industry. These are all themes to be seen in the exhibition.

Did you make any cooperation with Artek and if so, which components of the show it concerned?

They gave us the permission to show a film “Chair” made of Ilmari Tapiovaara. And then, among other exhibition furniture, there are some original vintage furniture, which were loaned from Artek’s vintage collection.

Thank you very much for the conversation.

 

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Ania Diduch

aniks.miks@gmail.com

 

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2 responses to “Iconic chair on which you already sat at least once in your life

  1. Pingback: Nisha Talk: Jacek Kowalski |·

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