Saturday, December 19, 2009

Chair #353

—Designed by Carlo Bugatti

Hard not to miss where the name came from. It looks like a cross between a cobra and one of those old fashioned doctor scales. Created in 1902, Bugatti was way ahead of his time, wasn't he?

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Cobra clearly illustrates Bugatti love for smooth, flowing lines and uncomplicated architecture. Even though his design is simplistic and delicate, it reveals Bugatti's imagination. Designed to furnish Carlo's 'Snail Room' at the Turin exposition of 1902, the seat and back of this chair are joined into a single continuous curved form, giving it a futuristic look. The innovative use of a cantilevered seat in this design anticipates an important feature of many chairs made later in the 20th century, especially some employing bent wood or tubular steel frames. This piece also shows how Carlo had begun completely covering his furniture in parchment, a technique which hid all joints. Decorations are made of hammered copper, pencil and paint. Cobra chair is covered with parchement and leather.

Bugatti's painted wood side chair with a copper medallion, made for a room used for games and conversation. Shaped like a cobra, its sweeping curved support and circular back and seat are covered in parchment and inscribed with floral and geometric motifs reminiscent of Islamic art. The chair's open design served a practical purpose, allowing men's coattails and women's trains to hang down behind the seat.

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