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Ron Arad

Ron Arad

ISRAEL (1951)
Headshot of designer.

Design took a radical turn in the 1980s, deconstructing the rigid ideology of the Bauhaus – often with great humor. Avant-garde designers like Philippe Starck and Ron Arad brazenly borrowed from the “historical closet” of previous styles and created biomorphic forms with whimsical names like Arad’s Big Easy Red Chair, the After Spring Before Summer Chaise Lounge and the Empty Chair. These chairs posed the question, “What ought a chair to be?”

Design maverick Ron Arad offered some interesting answers. His early furniture combined materials associated with the high-tech style and objets trouve to produce poetic post-industrial “readymades.” His later ’80s designs, such as the Big Easy Series, were more refined and often involved costly labor-intensive techniques that identified the pieces as “art” furniture, winning Arad international attention and commissions from prominent manufacturers.

The Tom Vac Chair (1997), like much of Arad’s work, suggests movement through graphic, gestural lines or references to organic forms. It also exploits the formal and structural possibilities of modern materials like the new plastics. One of Arad’s most commercially successful designs is the Bookworm, produced by Kartell, and a part of the Vitra Design Museum. The Bookworm was also featured in the “Mutant Plastics” exhibit at MOMA. The metaphor of the novel illustrates Arad’s belief that design has a responsibility not only to utility but also to surprise and delight.

Arad first studied at the Jerusalem Academy of Art and the Architectural Association London and later opened his architectural design office, One Off Ltd., initially based in Covent Garden and later in, Chalk Farm, London. Primarily known for chair design, Arad has also had important architectural commissions, including the interior of the Tel Aviv Opera House.

Ron Arad

T. Vac Chair
Vitra Miniatures Collection: Arad Well Tempered Chair
Vitra Miniatures Collection: T. Vac Chair
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