Exhibition of vintage furniture designs showcases timeless value

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“Tappeto Volante” by Ettore Sottsass (Hwang Dong-hee/The Korea Herald)

Over 100 pieces of vintage and antique designer furniture are on display at an exhibition titled “Our Finest 20th Century Design Collection” at Dongdaemun Design Plaza in central Seoul.

The collection, which embodies the essence of modernity and originality, features furniture from the 1920s to the 1960s, a period considered the most dynamic in design history, according to show organizer Seoul. Design Foundation.

The exhibition includes several rare pieces which are presented to the Korean public for the first time.

One of them is “Tappeto Volante”, which means flying carpet, a set of sofas designed by Italian architect Ettore Sottsass in 1972. Inspired by a trip to India, Sottsass designed the sofa with colors and shapes bold. It was only produced for three years in limited quantities – there are less than 100 in total.

Another rare piece is the “Cite Desk” by Jean Prouve, which was originally designed to furnish a classroom at the Cité University of Nancy, France. The exhibit is the actual desk that Prouvé made for his daughter, François Gauthier.

Also on display is a prototype red sofa designed by Charles and Ray Eames, which they offered to Herman Miller Inc. in 1969. Only two pieces of this prototype exist, as Herman Miller proceeded to manufacture a one-person chair version rather than the proposed two-person sofa. The other piece is in the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation in Dearborn, Michigan.

Chair and pouf sitting on the grass (foreground, left) by George Nakashima (Hwang Dong-hee/The Korea Herald)

Chair and pouf sitting on the grass (foreground, left) by George Nakashima (Hwang Dong-hee/The Korea Herald)

Other notable pieces include Pierre Paulin’s “Little Tulip” (1960s), the first limited edition piece for his design demonstration, and earlier pieces from the Bauhaus collection designed by Marcel Breuer. There is also a grass seating chair – which is still in production today – and a George Nakashima pouf from 1944. Also on display are Brazilian designer Percival Lafer’s high-end lounge chairs in rosewood, which are no longer made . , as the rosewood trade has been regulated by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora since 2017.

“The pieces are prototypes of the furniture we see and use today,” said a supply manager at one of the participating furniture galleries. If they are familiar to us today, they are historic since it was in the 1950s and 1960s that new bending and welding techniques were experimented with, as well as the creation of unique designs and shapes, at the using innovative materials, added the director.

Seven local furniture companies are participating in the exhibit: AndersonC, which primarily deals in Mid-Century Modern American furniture; LeModular, which features rare European pieces; Mitdembauhaus, which collects original Bauhaus creations; Henry Beguelin, who sells high-end European masterpieces; Alkov, which focuses on 20th century designs; Aimvilla, which has a strong collection of designs from Brazil and the Czech Republic; and Mimihwa, whose collection showcases craftsmanship.

The exhibition runs until August 21. Free entry.

By Hwang Dong-Hee ([email protected])


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