What makes an iconic design? Innovation? Symbolism? Marketability? Most industrial designs that achieve this status are typically simple and ubiquitous, making use of the latest technology while at the same time offering groundbreaking solutions that meet the needs and lifestyle of a generation.
In the industry of decoration and interior design you can find iconic pieces that have pushed the frontiers of design and turned into pieces of art that symbolize the aspirations and personality of their owners, to be proudly displayed at their homes and offices.
These are five examples of furniture and decorative objects that have become iconic.
Barcelona Chair, Mies Van de Rohe, 1929
The Barcelona chair is an original design from renowned modernist architect Mies Van de Rohe for the Barcelona International Exhibition in 1929. The elegance of its clean lines was inspired by the folded chairs of the Roman magistrates and scribes in ancient Egypt. The chair was redesigned in 1950 to adapt to new processes of manufacturing and has been produced nonstop ever since. It’s a classic piece of furniture that never goes out of style. It is also a must as a status symbol in corporate and professional lounges, especially those of upwardly mobile architects and designers.
Savoy Vase, Alvar Aalto, 1936
This exquisite piece of handicraft was designed by Finnish architect and designer Alvar Aalto in 1936 and is still being produced today by means of artisan methods of mouth blowing. The Savoy vase, also known as Aalto vase, was part of a collection of furniture and decorative objects that Alvar Aalto and his wife created for the Savoy Restaurant that opened in Helsinki in 1937. Today this vase, with its organic and clean lines, is an icon of Scandinavian design, acclaimed and celebrated by the most prominent names in contemporary design.
Arco Lamp, Achille and Giacomo Castiglioni, 1962
The original Arco Lamp that has spawned so many imitations and reinterpretations was designed by the Castiglioni brothers in 1962. Until then, no one had thought of a way to turn a floor lamp into an overhead light. The Castiglioni brothers’ interest in functionality linked to aesthetics drove them to draw inspiration from street lamps to conceptualise this iconic piece of Italian design.
Nesso Table Lamp, Giancarlo Mattioli, 1964
This table lamp, with its dramatic colour and organic, rounded shapes, is a classic piece from the vibrant design era of the swinging sixties. It displays more than any other the uninhibited, freewheeling and optimistic spirit of the time. Mass-produced in cheap and durable ABS plastic, it quickly became a staple in many homes and inspired countless imitations. The Nesso Table Lamp has sold steadily since 1967 and is part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art of New York.
Juicy Salif Citric Squeezer, Philippe Starck, 1988
Inspired by a plate of calamari, Philippe Starck designed a citric squeezer made of cast and polished aluminium in 1988. The artifact instantly caused a revolution in the design industry and soon found its way into the mass media. This icon of postmodernism has expanded the boundaries of industrial design to acquire the status of Work of Art and is currently part of the permanent exhibition of the Museum of Modern Art of New York. Limited editions of the Juicy Salif in gold plate or anthracite are now collectors’ items, coveted by design lovers all over the world.
Design, decorative objects and furniture mirror the personality of a home. Do you think it’s important to own originals or it is enough to acquire imitations? Share your thoughts with us on social media.
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