Art/ Collection/ Art Object

"Capitello" Chair

Studio 65 (Italian)
Gufram (Italian, founded 1952)
Polyurethane foam, latex rubber containing paint
26 1/2 x 40 x 44 1/2 in. (67.3 x 101.6 x 113 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Friends of Twentieth Century Decorative Arts Gifts, by exchange, 2003
Accession Number:
2003.12a, b
Rights and Reproduction:
© Gufram s.r.l.
Not on view
In Italy throughout the 1960s and 1970s, radical design groups were established in opposition to the pure functionalism of the International Style. In 1965 Studio 65 was founded by Franco Audrito and Piero Gatti, architecture and art students in Turin. Their ironic adaptation of classical elements predates the historicist designs of such 1980s postmodernists as Robert Venturi and Michael Graves in America and Hans Hollein, Ricardo Bofill, and Aldo Rossi in Europe, and it also takes note of pop art developments of the period.

The "Capitello" side chair is made from a self-skinning polyurethane foam that has been molded into the uppermost architectural element of the Greek Ionic column--the capital. Its ironic humor lies in the fact that this soft, pliable modern material has been shaped as a hard, load-bearing form, and important symbol of ancient Greek architecture. The visual references derived from architecture and art supersede functionalism, as indeed they do in most objects designed by Studio 65 and other antidesign groups of this period, transforming furniture, jewelry, accessories, and even architecture itself into objects of fantasy.

[21/20 Gallery, Pound Ridge, N. Y., until 2003; sold to MMA]

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Classic/Fantastic: Selections from the Modern Design Collection," December 21, 2007–April 5, 2009, no catalogue.

Michael Collins. Towards Post-Modernism: Design Since 1851. London, 1987, p. 128, fig. 135.

Miriam Stimpson. Modern Furniture Classics. New York, 1987, p. 156, ill. (color), calls it "The Ionic" and dates it 1972.

Charlotte Fiell and Peter Fiell. 1000 Chairs. Cologne, 1997, p. 491, ill. (color).

Jane Adlin in "Recent Acquisitions: A Selection, 2002–2003." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 61 (Fall 2003), pp. 50–51, ill. (color).

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