Harry Bertoïa

1915 (Italy) – 1978 (United States)

Harry Bertoia is an itallian designer, painter and sculptor, naturalized in America. He studies Art and Design at the Cass Technical High School. He then moves to Canbrook Academy where he meet the Eames couple with whom he works for a while. Disagreements between the three will put an end to their collaboration. In 1950, he starts a project with Florence Knoll for whom he draws the well­known « Diamond Chair ». With this seat, we can recognize Bertoia’s sculptural, organic and functional approach to design. This approach is completely innovative and will drastically strike modernism.

Indeed, passionated by sculpture, he uses the same techniques to create sculptural seats. They are distinct because of the use of wire braided steel, which offers an original and attractive perception of the forms, the space and the geometry of the furniture. He developed a series of seats and steel mesh benches for Knoll, the model 420 that was produced for both adults and children. The designer said that he wanted the chair to give the impression of being sat in the air, “If you look at these chairs, they are mainly made of air, like a sculpture. Space goes through them ». Bertoia and Knoll’s productions rapidly become great successes and made the wealth and renown of the designers. At the end of his life, Bertoia mainly devoted himself to his first passion : sculpture.