In 2011 Arper launched a public relations initiative to encourage brand awareness. Arper wanted to focus their attention not only on products but also on concepts or cultural ventures that mirror the same values as the Italian furniture manufacturer; the preciousness of a sober style, and the ability to innovate and place people at the centre of every project. The initiative originated with Arper’s belief that design and creativity are a voice for universal discourse.
Their first undertaking began by shining a bright light on the life and times of Italian-Brazilian Modernist architect Lina Bo Bardi. Described by British architecture critic Rowan Moore as “the most underrated architect of the 20th century”, Bo Bardi’s work went somewhat unnoticed during her lifetime.
Arper worked closely alongside The Instituto Lina Bo e P.M. Bardi, a foundation which was established in 1990 to promote Brazilian culture and architecture through exhibitions, publications and lectures to an international stage, to bring Bo Bardi the posthumous recognition she deserves. The Sao Paulo Institute is located within the Casa de Vidro (The Glass house), which Bo Bardi designed in 1950 as a home for her and her art-critic husband Pietro Maria. After Lina’s death in 1992, Pietro donated the house to the Institute.
Due to similarities in their approach to design, Arper responded to Bardi’s vision expressed through her work; the pursuit of the essential and authentic, by making the decision to manufacture her 1951 Bowl chair. The Bowl chair is a hollowed-out half-moon form that rests on a metal ring with four legs. The chair is stylistic, adjustable and incredibly innovative. At the time of its design the piece was never produced and only two versions of the Bowl chair existed; one in black leather, the other in clear plastic. By carefully studying what limited drawings the artist had made of her design, Arper’s in-house artisans were able to exemplify Lina’s Modernist classic using 21st Century technology and materials.
A limited series of 500 Bowl chairs produced by Arper is running in conjunction with a world-wide exhibition “Lina Bo Bardi: Together”. Arper’s version of the chair is available in black leather and a fabric version in seven different colourways, each with solid or patterned options for cushions.
Profits from the sale of the chairs will go to the Instituto Lina Bo e P.M. Bardi of São Paulo, the custodian and promoter of her valuable work. This pioneering project represents Arper’s commitment to creative endeavours that have a profound impact on the culture of design.
Photo credits – Photo courtesy – Instituto Lina Bo e P.M. Bardi and Marco Covi