Basket is undoubtedly the most surprising collection of Joe Colombo, known for his futuristic style, his love of technology and his affinity for synthetic materials, a collection of rattan furniture with a more traditional look is more than unexpected. However, if you look closer, the characteristics of Colombo become clear: organic lines, a decidedly modernist aesthetic and a very innovative approach to the chosen material.
As Ignazia Favata, former Colombo assistant and now director of the Joe Colombo Studio, explains: "The Basket collection gives new shape to traditional materials, exploiting an innovative structure that has never been used before for products as big and light. It's really exciting to see him back in production and to see Colombo's work reach new audiences through the collaboration with Gubi. »
First produced in the late 1960s by specialist rattan furniture maker Pierantonio Bonacina, who commissioned Colombo to design, the Basket collection is relaunched by Gubi after decades of production hiatus. Gubi’s reissue stays true to Colombo's vision as presented in its original 1967 designs, while optimizing proportions for today's ergonomic needs.
The name “Basket” pays homage to the classic hand weaving technique used in rattan basketry. The collection includes a three-seater sofa, a two-seater sofa and a lounge chair, all of which share the same construction. Replacing the fiberglass inner shell that Colombo originally used, the core of each piece is now formed from a more environmentally friendly steel structure, which lends strength and stability to the unique shape. This one is covered in hand-woven rattan, made of interwoven strips and oval pegs, a technique that requires a huge degree of skill and craftsmanship to create.
The design demonstrates a balance between technique and material, combining traditional craftsmanship methods and one of the oldest craft materials known to man with the innovative machined precision of carbon steel - a perfect blend of artisanal and industrial.
The frame is fitted with rounded cushions on the seat and back, as well as cylindrical bolster cushions adding extra softness and an enveloping effect to the sides of the chair. The cushion covers are removable, offering the possibility of easy cleaning.
Joe Colombo's design approach has always been forward looking, choosing to focus on lasting innovation rather than passing trends. His style was generally shaped by experimentation with materials and a heavy emphasis on functionality. Colombo imagined pieces of furniture that could be independent of the architecture around them – chameleon pieces that could adapt to any space, at any time. With its refined materiality, slightly retro look and inviting comfort, the Gubi edition of the Basket collection brings this vision to life.
Materials steel inner frame, outer material in hand-woven rattan
Dimensions Lounge Chair 89 x 91 x H68 cm Sofa (3-seater) 89 x 233 x H68 cm
from SOON €
from SOON €
from SOON €
Italian designer Joe Colombo (1930-1971) had a forward-looking vision of smart technology and integrated living environments, and thus had a revolutionary impact on mid-century design.
His diverse career began in the world of fine art, studying painting and sculpture at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts in his hometown of Milan. He was part of the Movimento Nucleare (nuclear movement) of painters, founded by Sergio Dangelo and Enrico Baj, who, inspired by growing international anxiety about nuclear war, challenged the limits of painting with organic forms.
He designed his first architectural project, a condominium, in 1956, before taking over the family business, which produced electric cables, in 1959. It was there that he began to experiment with new construction and production technologies. , and in 1961 Colombo opened his own interior design studio, designing the architecture and furniture.
Captivated by the atomic age, Colombo believed he could create the environment of the future and that the emerging language of interior design he was helping to shape would result in seamlessly integrated living environments rather than individual furniture. . His progressive work was driven by a desire to create objects that were independent of the architecture that contained them and could adapt to any space, now or in the future.
Given its futuristic aesthetic, it's no surprise that Colombo is closely associated with plastic as a material. His Universale chair (1965) was the first all-plastic injection molded chair – and one of the first plastic chairs to be commercially available. He also turned to plastic materials and finishes to create self-contained units that provided all the services of a room – such as his Mini-kitchen (1963); and the Total Furnishing Unit at MoMA (1971) – all in a modular pod.
It was with the extraordinary number of innovative furniture and multifunctional mobile unit designs that he created throughout the 1960s that he made a name for himself. For example, designs such as the throne-like Elda Cocooning Armchair (1963) ensured that the Colombo name would forever be tied to the aesthetics of mid-century science fiction. His best known designs include the Optic alarm clock (1970) and the lighting products Acrilica (1962), Spider (1965) and Ciclope (1970).
Today his work is held in permanent collections and featured in exhibitions at institutions such as the Victoria & Albert Museum and Design Museum in London and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Thanks to Studio Joe Colombo, now run by his former assistant, architect Ignazia Favata, his legacy lives on.