Alessandro Mendini – Proust Armchair (1978)

 The Italian designer Alessandro Mendini describe his Proust Armchair from 1978 as “an intellectual exercise”. The chair, was launched by Cappellini in 1978 and its design combines a Baroque-style shape with a pattern of tiny hand-painted pointillist coloured dots across its wooden frame and upholstery. It was first presented in the Palazzo dei Diamanti in Ferrara during the exhibition “Close encounters of architecture”, where this piece of postmodern furniture captured the attention of connoisseurs and design interested on an international scale.

Mendini paved the way for Postmodernism in design, described as the “saturnine conceptualist of Italian Postmodernism”. The Proust Armchair was the first in a series known as Redesigns. The series brought together the designer’s academic theories on the importance of historical context for design, and the significance of surface appearance in a fast-moving world.

As one of the personalities behind the Radical Design, Alessandro Mendini stated shortly before his death in 2019: “that there is no more ideology in design and that the industry has lost its critical edge”. Luckily, we still have the Proust Armchair being one of the most iconic chairs of the last century and a precursor to Postmodern Design.


Author: Anna Marie Fisker