Modern Italian architect Lina Bo Bardi made the permanent move to a politically turbulent Brazil in 1946, where she stayed until her passing in 1992—leaving behind a people-first legacy of striking, democratic buildings such as the 1968 São Paulo Museum of Art building (suspended on four “legs,” preserving a public square) and the 1982 SESC Pompéia (a former factory turned into a leisure center, with almost whimsical concrete walkways connecting the different towers). Putting a much-needed spotlight on this largely underrated 20th century architect is the exhibition “Lina Bo Bardi: Together,” which has been traveling around the world to bring more attention to her inclusive philosophy when creating spaces. Italian furniture-makers Arper support this cultural initiative via a project of their own: resurrecting Bo Bardi’s 1951 Bowl Chair prototypes for modern day production.
The round, almost nurturing structure, at the time, was radical: an antithesis to traditional upright chairs, the Bowl Chair encouraged the user to feel relaxed and familiar instead of on show. The shell flexibly moves around on the metallic ring, so the angle can be adjusted to suit. Bo Bardi’s love of the functional and natural—paired with Arper’s technical know-how—makes for a beautiful, uncomplicated chair that speaks to both the past and present.
Made in a limited, numbered edition of 500, Bardi’s Bowl Chair is available in a range of colors and fabrics; profits from sales will support the Instituto Lina Bo e P.M. Bardi as well as the traveling exhibition. “Lina Bo Bardi: Together” makes its way to Miami Center for Architecture and Design next, for a 13-29 May 2016 run, just after the Maison & Objet Americas trade show.
Lina Bo Bardi sitting on chair courtesy of Francisco Albuquerque, all other images courtesy of Marco Corvi