March 1, 2011
The Masters chair combines the silhouettes of classic seats by Saarinen, Eames, and Jacobsen.
Ever experience a kind of design déjà vu, an unshakable feeling that you’ve seen a brand-new chair before? Many designers circle back to the classics, turning out, deliberately or not, derivative forms without acknowledging their precursors. The Masters chair is different: although it elf-consciously takes its shape directly from some of the most iconic chairs in the history of design, it bears very little resemblance to any of them. The clever chair, by Eugeni Quitllet and Philippe Starck for Kartell, weaves together three famous silhouettes by midcentury masters—Eero Saarinen, Charles and Ray Eames, and Arne Jacobsen—to create a serpentine seatback that both finds inspiration in and transcends the past. Call it “the Meta chair.”
“For me, it’s the most modern chair,” Quitllet says. “Not because I did it but because you don’t typically have art at this price.” The durable polypropylene seat, which is suitable for indoors and out, will retail for about $250 and come in seven colors—white, yellow, black, orange, mustard, green, and gray. Here the Catalan designer talks about his thoroughly modern homage to his inimitable forefathers.