Modern Master Lina Bo Bardi's Bowl Chair Makes a Comeback

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By Melissa Dalton / Published by Dwell
Arper is making just 500 of the midcentury design available.

As part of a "cultural project that reflects the company's values," the Milan-based Arper, a furniture manufacturer, is spotlighting the work of architect Lina Bo Bardi with a relaunch of her signature Bowl Chair design. (The effort coincided with a world exhibition titled Lina Bo Bardi: Together, which toured Europe in 2012-2013.)

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Bardi (1914-1992) was an Italian-born, modernist architect who permanently moved to Brazil in 1946. She was known for her celebration of Brazilian culture and design, and she practiced in many disciplines, including jewelry, furniture design, and architecture (see her Glass House and the São Paulo Museum of Art ). 

According to Arper, with the Bowl Chair, Bardi "introduced a new perspective in the 1950s-design world, placing human interaction in the heart of her creation...The Bowl Chair transformed the way people sat." 

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Its form, a semi-spherical seat nestled into a metal ring with four legs, was in direct contrast to "prevailing angular forms and upright chairs" of the time. The Bowl Chair signified a more relaxed and informal environment, one that encouraged users to interact with the objects around them. Bardi wrote of it: "What is new in this piece of furniture is the fact that the chair can move in all directions without any mechanical means, only through its spherical shape." 

After close review of the original prototype, Arper "carefully reinterpreted every detail of the chair's design," as the original sketches did not include exact measurements. 

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During that process, the original hand-forged iron interior was replaced with a lighter and stronger plastic one, so as to maintain quality control over production. You can purchase the chair with its classic black leather upholstery, or in several bright fabric options.      

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