The exhibition held at the Galleria Carla Sozzani, explores the first 50 years of Gufram through its most symbolic projects, the ones that in recent years have revived the legend of the brand and its mad and disruptive visions.
With a special set up, some of the most representative icons of the history of Gufram invade the gallery’s space: from the couch Bocca by Studio65 to Cactus designed by Guido Drocco and Franco Mello, from Pratone by Giorgio Ceretti, Pietro Derossi and Riccardo Rosso, to Sasso and Sedilsasso by Piero Gilardi, from Globe by Studio Job to Magnolia by Marcel Wanders, and many others.
Charley Vezza, Global Creative Orchestrator of the Gufram brand, says ….
“Gufram was born in Turin in 1966, revolutionizing the domestic landscape and creating, together with other realities of that time, what is known today as Italian Radical Design. Without giving importance to the increasingly intense series of ephemeral fashions and customs, today Gufram continues on this path and remains true to itself: its icons have become fixed points in the common imagination, as rocks around which the current flows.
On the occasion of the 50 years of the brand, and now that Radical Design has been historicized and is living a new moment of glory, we decided to display this history of resistance with an exhibition at Galleria Carla Sozzani which has always been a place where counter-current ideas can be expressed freely. Do not expect an explanatory exhibit, what you’ll see will be the perspective representation of an undisciplined and unconventional way of thinking “.
Work in Progress
Two new projects were presented for the first time at the Gallery Carla Sozzani exhibition spaces
Poltrona by Alessandro Mendini
Poltrona is a totemic and symbolic sitting, a domestic throne that lives of the contrast between the lightness of polyurethane and faux marble finish.
A single copy produced in the early ’80s and used for a historical cover of the magazine Casabella, is now produced in a limited edition in “real-faux” Carrara marble.
The artist Kris Ruhs, on the other hand, will present a brand new soft sculpture in “real-faux” rusty iron taken from his modular sculptures which have become a single block, according to the ironic game of the true-false that distinguishes Gufram creations.
Celebrating 50 Years in business!
The historic Italian brand that popularized radical design, celebrates 50 years in business by having a series of international events.
The journey started in Turin (where the company took its first steps in 1966) with an exhibition held at GAM – Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea from November 27, 2015 to February 28, 2016.
The exhibition retraces the half century of activity of Studio65, a collective of architects who, gathered around the figure of Franco Audrito, have been central figures of Italian Pop Design and, thanks to Gufram, have given life to many of their projects.
Charley Vezza, global creative orchestrator of Gufram: ….
“We have before us a whole year to celebrate 50 years of counter current design, how could we start the celebrations anywhere but Turin, where Gufram and Studio65 were born?
Franco Audrito had the courage and consistency to always remain true to himself, for 50 years a “merchant of clouds,” and with his creativity, he has made them tangible. It’s incredible that the never-too-lucid madness, born from a cultural resistance that unites us, has changed the domestic landscape and is still alive and kicking.
I think it is a wonderful example of how the nonconformist sentiment of those years has won and how, to this day, you can find more fertile grounds than ever to achieve your own visions. Visions that will be shaped by Gufram with new products designed ad hoc for its 50th anniversary, and presented on a global tour around the world.”
To celebrate the innovative contribution of Studio65 and its first 50 years of work, at the exhibition Gufram will preview a special limited series of only fifty Bocca sofas, the emblematic product of the collaboration between the studio and the brand.
Retaining its iconic shape, inspired by the red lips of the Hollywood divas, this new GOLD edition emphasizes the brand’s important landmark, and enriches even further an object welcomed into the most beautiful homes and most important museums in the world.
Bocca, in this new version, will find its ideal collocation among the pieces designed by Studio65 and shown at GAM. Within the exhibition will be several other products to admire that testify to the partnership between the company and the studio, who have marked an essential step in Italian radical design: in addition to the famous and inimitable sofa Bocca, produced for the first time by Gufram in 1970, will also be the Capitello seat, the Attica armchair, and the Attica TL table (all designed in 1972), a duplicate of the Leonardo sectional sofa, from 1969, and the out-of-scale pillow Alì, from 1973,and the revolutionary children’s playset Baby-lonia, 1972.
After Turin, Gufram will continue the celebrations in Miami, Chicago, Paris,London, and Milan, celebrating the cosmopolitan spirit of the brand on a tour around the world that will unveil new special limited editions of historical icons and new unreleased projects realized with some of the most interesting creatives.
Because to this day, the protagonists of the most avantgarde and innovative industrial design still find in this brand the ideal partner to develop a new domestic landscape, because the unique aesthetic of each piece not only the symbol of an irreverent mentality, but the product of extensive research on materials and technologies as well.
Paul Smith – Psychedelic Cactus
British fashion designer Paul Smith has created a new striped version of the cactus-shaped coat stand launched by Italian furniture brand Gufram in the 1970s.
Smith updated the prickly-looking coat stand, which is one of Gufram’s most iconic pieces, using a bright blend of pinks, blues and black inspired by the “hallucinogenic vibes” of the decade when it was designed.
“Gufram and Paul Smith are two dimensions descending from the 70s“, said Gufram’s Charley Vezza.
“The strength of this project lies in the fusion between two different worlds: Sir Paul Smith did not merely cover a cactus with colours, but he reimagined and transformed it by drawing inspiration from the hallucinogenic vibes of that crazy time period,” he added. “The outcome is psychedelic, a creativity peyote.”
The original Gufram Cactus was designed by Guido Drocco and Franco Mello in 1972, and was first released in an emerald green colour.
Since then it has been available in other shades and colour combinations, including a white version, a red and black version, and a French flag-inspired edition released in 2015.
Smith’s Psychedelic Cactus will be available in a limited edition of just 169, and will be presented during this year’s Milan design week at Salone Del Mobile.
“One of my favourite exhibitions of all time was Italy: The New Domestic Landscape in 1972 in New York’s Museum of Modern Art,” said Smith. “Included in the many wonderful things on display were products from Gufram.”
“Since then my affection for the products has never waned over the years and so I was delighted to have been asked to collaborate on their famous cactus” he added.
CACTUS (1972) by Guido Drocco & Franco Mello
The subject of several, free and often ambiguous interpretations, Cactus is the icon of Italian design that has revolutionized the domestic landscape, by subverting the borders between
indoor area and open space. Cactus comes as an ironic totem, and embodies the grit, the imagination and the humour of the design of the Seventies.
Likely to draw upon itself everybody’s attention, this hall-tree redeems itself from functionalism at all costs, because it can perform its function, but also be used as a merry decorative ele
ment. You have freedom of interpretation. Cactus comes to life in 1972 thanks to the genius of Guido Drocco and Franco Mello, and from the start it questions the static and rigid world of interior design.
Its first edition was a very deep emerald shade (sold out edition), and since then it is cyclically reinterpreted according to the colour and the style of the moment.
In 2007 we had the white version (sold out edition); in 2010 it was the turn of red and black. In 2012, on occasion of the first piece’s fortieth anniversary, Cactus came in a new imited edition called Metacactus. In this variation the green lime colour fades into orange at the tips, as if they were toasted by the scorching sun of the house of those who have always loved and collected it.
CAPITELLO, ATTICA, ATTICA TL (1972) by Studio 65
What happens if a Majestic Greek column falls down and breaks into several pieces? The answer is obvious: it is transformed into a Gufram lounge. The remains are in fact contemporary archaeological finds, that give life to a modular system of seats — of neoclassical taste and Pop attitude — that can exist as single elements or be combined one with the other.
This architectural archetype, produced in polyurethane, becomes in this way a series of objects of industrial design of smooth texture and cosy ergonomics. The Ionic volute, which is the upper part of the column and was not by chance called Capitello, becomes a luxurious chaise longue. The transversal section is called Attica, and is the cheeky seat with a dotted black and white cushion. The section at the base, of cylindrical tapered shape, is the table Attica TL, with a bifacial glass surface, opaque on one side and mirror shiny on the other.
If then, in an attempt towards auto ironic auto-celebration, you wish to showcase an archaeological find of design in your home, you can stack them back one on the other and in this way recompose the entire Column in its monumental and playful daring.
BLOW (2015) by Emanuele Magini
To decontextualize is the password for Blow, the recamier designed by Emanuele Magnini for Gufram. It could be the perfect pop lounge chaise for your situationist shrink. And maybe it might even work to help you overcome the fear of water. In its features we can clearly see the reference to the air mattress of the seventies, as well as its ironic charge.
Comfortable and playful, Blow takes idleness to extremes. With sunglasses and a cocktail in your hand, no wave can hurt you, nor can the sun burn you. Even in the winter months this irreverent seat is your lifeline against the tedious domestic life. 5 minutes spent lying on Blow will make life smile to you. Even your doctor will suggest it to you: close your eyes and enjoy your Caribbean private swimming pool, or let yourselves be lulled by the calm sea of Sardinian inlets.
You won’t feel the earth under your feet anymore, but an ocean of relax in which to lose and lightly abandon ourselves – even fall asleep without the risk of being carried away by the current.
Home is your safe harbour; Blow is your exclusive and privileged berth, let alone it does not pollute, needs no maintenance and has no running costs.
Bye-bye, yacht – and welcome Blow into my dreams.
GlOBE: the travellers’ cabinet.
Custom made thinking about the indefatigable travellers around the world, Globe is the first container unit to enter Gufram’s Multiples collection.
It is a kind of secret chest where you can store the most vivid memories, the most tangible mementoes, and the most precious souvenirs of the experiences accumulated in your travels to the four corners of the globe.
The narrative register of this new Gufram Multiple is to open its doors and to discover where the roads have taken you.
Studio Job – created by Smeets and Nynke Tynagel – has conceived this small closet by giving a different and personal interpretation to the Gufram universe: they have isolated softness in the poly urethane foam globe set at the heart of the project.
The surprise effect is thus even stronger and more intense.
The vaguely charted earth, coloured by the different continents and set at the centre of the closet, is as a matter of fact made of a material soft to the touch. A choice which is decidedly coherent with Gufram’s production and attitude, and destined to amaze with a touch of unexpected subtle irony. If, on the other hand, you are not regular travellers, you can always use Globe as your personal space time transporter; you can close your eyes, stroke the whole world and imagine to be running in the desert, kissed by the sun of Latin America, captivated by the deepest jungle, sitting at a Mitteleuropean café, or lost in an Asian metropolis after having surfed the ocean waves.
With Globe you can be elsewhere and fly free beyond the boundaries of your home or your town. With this project for Gufram, Studio Job puts the world into your hands, as well as and 195 cm wide poetry at your disposal, to be filled as you like
SOFTCRETE (2005) by Ross Lovegrove
Soft as concrete.
From Auguste Perret’s pioneering approach, moving through Le Corbusier’s Copernican revolution, to Tadao Aando’s purity, the use of concrete in architecture has been a permanent feature of the modern language.
Be it interpreted as liquid stone, velvet modular pattern, plastic surface, or material magma, concrete has always been viewed by architects and designers as a material with a rough texture and cold soul, to be investigated, shaped and taken to extremes as in the Brutalist experiences of the 50’s.
It was only with designer Ross Lovegrove that concrete became a synonym for comfortable, soft and warm. And in this wonderful contest we find the chemistry between the company Gufram and the English designer.
Softcrete, the name of this family of seats whose name is an oxymoron of contents, is today a comfortable and comforting sitting room outside the box.
Made of polyurethane foam, this modular couch, made up of central elements, angle elements, and a coffee table, it comes in 2014 within a new chaise-longue, and provides infinite ways of arrangement.
With Softcrete Ross Lovegrove defines a new tautology: soft as concrete. Please make yourselves at home.
From the late 60s, in a time when Italian society was going through a profound change, Gufram was at the center of a movement carried on by artists and architects that will later become the radical design as we know it today.
Gufram is the first to use polyurethane in pieces of furniture taking advantage of its strength and ductility to realize the most unusual and different shapes while maintaining softness, thus creating a tactile and visual short-circuit.
The first creative that has invented a new way of treating polyurethane by painting it with water repellent synthetic paint is, the artist, Piero Gilardi, that today reminds us that: “In the 70s working on “complete upholstery “meant that designers were limited by the problem of producing liners in very complex fabric which was often impossible to do. In Gufram we managed to free the designer’s imagination through Guflac”.
Gilardi’s innovative insight, called Guflac, at the base of the development of Gufram products, transformed polyurethane which has become not only the structure but also an aesthetic component.
Over the years, Guflac has been changed, improved, updated but it always remains that special natural varnish which, polyurethane render leather-like through skillful craftsmanship, and creates those wonderful dreams that are Gufram projects.
About Gallery Carla Sozzani
Galleria Carla Sozzani opened in 1990 in Milan, devoted to art, photography, design and architecture.
The gallery is located in a former industrial building, typical of the Milanese architecture.
Since its opening, Galleria Carla Sozzani has established itself as one of the most important photography galleries in Italy.
Over 200 exhibitions have been shown at the presence of famous photographers, often presenting works that had never been shown in Italy before: Helmut Newton, Annie Leibovitz, Bruce Weber, Bert Stern, Sarah Moon, Paolo Roversi, David Bailey, Hiro, David LaChapelle, amongst others.
Twice a year the gallery presents an exhibition related to architecture and design. Amongst them: Franco Albini, Carlo Mollino, Verner Panton, Jean Prouvé, Serge Mouille, Yayoi Kusama. Fashion exhibitions like the ones on Pierre Cardin, Courrèges, Paco Rabanne, Zandra Rhodes and Martin Margiela have been presented as well.
Next to the gallery, the bookshop presents a wide selection of new and classic publications on art, architecture, design, graphics and fashion, with a strong emphasis on photography.
The gallery has its own publishing company, Carla Sozzani Editore, also dedicated to art, photography, fashion and design.