With his iconic seating collection, Harry Bertoia transformed industrial wire rods into a new furniture form. The events that made this work possible began a decade earlier at Cranbrook Academy of Art when Bertoia met Florence Knoll Bassett (then Florence Schust). Years later, the Italian-born designer was invited to work for Florence and her husband Hans Knoll. The terms were favorable to the artist and Bertoia was given the freedom to work on whatever suited him, without being held to a strict design agenda. The result of this arrangement was the Bertoia Seating Collection (1952). Featuring a delicate filigreed appearance that's supremely strong, these airy seats are sculpted out of steel rods. In his art, Bertoia experimented with open forms and metal work, and these chairs were an extension of that work. "If you look at the chairs, they are mainly made of air, like sculpture," said Bertoia. "Space passes through them." The white barstools and regular vinyl seat pads (black, carrot and white) can be used outdoors with proper care and limited exposure to the elements. Manufactured by Knoll® according to the original and exacting specifications of the designer. Barstool made in Italy, seat pads made in U.S.A.
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Italian artist and furniture designer, Harry Bertoia, was thirty-seven years old when he designed the patented Diamond chair for Knoll in 1952. An unusually beautiful piece of furniture, it was strong yet delicate in appearance, and an immediate commercial success in spite of being made almost entirely by hand. With the Diamond chair, Bertoia created an icon of modern design and introduced a new material, industrial wire mesh to the world of furniture design.
Bertoia's career began in the 1930.s as a student at the Cranbrook Academy of Art where he re-established the metal-working studio and, as head of that department, taught from 1939 until 1943 when it was closed due to wartime restrictions on materials. During the war, Bertoia moved to Venice, California, and worked with Charles and Ray Eames at the Evans Products Company, developing new techniques for molding plywood. Read more >