written by:
August 23, 2012
Originally published in Open House

Flash back to the 1970s for visionary Italian designer Joe Colombo’s Living Center, a mod take on a casual soirée.

  Photo by Ignazia Favata / StudioJoe Colombo, Milano
    Photo by Ignazia Favata / StudioJoe Colombo, Milano
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Living Center by Joe Colombo
Photo by Ignazia Favata / StudioJoe Colombo, Milano

Joe Colombo hit the industrial design scene in the 1960s and made his name by forecasting a future that upended traditional perspectives on furniture. One such invention is Living Center, a family of pieces designed in 1970 for the German company Rosenthal. The lounge chairs include slide-out trays and movable cushions that can be used as footrests, backrests, or booster seats for meals. A compact service console features compartments that can hold all the trappings of a party—playing cards and games, glassware and bottles, books and magazines, and speakers for a record player. Not shown—but equally important—is a unit that morphs from a makeshift kitchen (complete with an electric hot plate, drink cooler, and enough tableware and cutlery for six people) to a dining table. Each element is set on wheels or casters to easily usher people through a get-together, from aperitif to after-dinner conversation.

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