"Capitello" Chair

Studio 65 (Italian)

Gufram (Italian, founded 1952)
Self-skinning polyurethane foam
H. 26 1/2, W. 40, D. 44 1/2 in. (67.3 x 101.6 x 113 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Friends of Twentieth Century Decorative Arts Gifts, by exchange, 2003
Accession Number:
2003.12a, b
Rights and Reproduction:
© Gufram s.r.l.
  • Description

    In Italy throughout the 1960s and 1970s, radical design groups were established in opposition to the pure functionalism of the International Style. In 1965 Studio 65 was founded by Piero Gatti, Cesare Paolini, and Franco Teodoro, architecture and art students in Turin. Their ironic adaptation of classical elements predates the historicist designs of such 1980s postmodernists as Robert Venturi and Michael Graves in America and Hans Hollein, Ricardo Bofill, and Aldo Rossi in Europe, and it also takes note of pop art developments of the period.

    The "Capitello" side chair is made from a self-skinning polyurethane foam that has been molded into the uppermost architectural element of the Greek Ionic column--the capital. Its ironic humor lies in the fact that this soft, pliable modern material has been shaped as a hard, load-bearing form, and important symbol of ancient Greek architecture. The visual references derived from architecture and art supersede functionalism, as indeed they do in most objects designed by Studio 65 and other antidesign groups of this period, transforming furniture, jewelry, accessories, and even architecture itself into objects of fantasy.

  • Exhibition History

    Classic/Fantastic: Selections from the Modern Design Collection, MMA, December 21, 2007 - April 5, 2009.

  • References

    Michael Collins. Towards Post Modernism. (1987: Little, Brown and Company, Boston), p. 128

    Charlotte and Peter Fiell. 1000 Chairs. (1997: Benedict Taschen Verlag GmbH, Cologne), p. 491.

    Stimpson, Miriam. 1987. Modern Furniture Classics. New York: Whitney Library of Design. p. 156.

  • See also
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History