IRI chair 12.02.09

words Kirsty McGregor

A little finger could lift this chair. Designed by recent Italian graduate Paolo Cappello, the IRI chair is so pared down it is better described as a stool with a handle.

Cappello wanted to design a chair with a reduced skeleton to focus attention on "all the expression wood can give". The curve of the back legs comes from the natural shape of the wood. "By removing as much as possible, I was trying to get to the essence of what a chair is," says Cappello. "But you have to be careful not to take too much away, or its message might be lost. It's trying to redefine an object, to find a new language."

Cappello was inspired in part by Giò Ponti's Superleggera chair of 1957, but also by the hyper-minimalism of Jasper Morrison and Naoto Fukasawa.

"I don't think this signals a new language for Italian design, but we are in a period of globalisation," he says.

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