Gufram celebrates disco’s golden era during the Salone del Mobile 2018 by introducing some soul-powered seating at Salone del Mobile
A surreal nightclub in the heart of Milan: Gufram took over the Santa Teresa Mediateca for the Milan Design Week.
Disco design is an important part of Gufram’s history: the first such clubs appeared in Italy in the mid-1960s, around the time the company was founded, and some of the most iconic venues were designed by the same creatives that gravitated around its HQ – then something of an ideas factory – in Barolo, northern Italy.
These architects were part of the Radical design movement, developed between Florence, Turin and Milan in the 1960s and dedicated to aesthetic innovation and experimentation.
Radical architects Giorgio Ceretti, Pietro Derossi and Riccardo Rosso, designed some of Italy’s swankiest disco spaces, including Piper in Turin and L’Altromondo Studios in Rimini, a legendary club still operating today. Both were furnished with colourful seats produced by Gufram.
The brand’s avant-garde approach later led to collaborations with the likes of architects Studio 65 to produce iconic pieces such as the ‘Bocca’ lips-shaped sofa.
Since 2011, Vezza and his team have been working to preserve Gufram’s heritage, while introducing new designers to build on the brand’s cult status. Delving into the company’s past is not an easy task:
“ It’s like having an immense puzzle to build, piece by piece, as we don’t have a traditional archive that we can work with. I always say that Gufram wrote the history of design without knowing it, so there was never a strong attention to documentation.
A furniture company speaks through its products, and our collections express a maximalist radical spirit.‘This same spirit drives us to still be radical in all the choices we make every day. There is something excessive and very joyful in disco: it’s very Gufram .…………. Charley Vezza
Itslisn design studio, Atelier Biagetti was asked to interpret the historic series of disco padded furniture in the late ’70s, with names such as Betsy, Tony, Stanley, Jimmy and Charly.
Each club must have a hypnotic dance floor, so the Parisian studio GGSV has created a “compilation” of carpets for the Dance Floor line that “is the meeting of a striped pattern and a neon-lit podium, so as to make you feel the kings of the sofa “.
For the after party he thought the Dutch studio Rotganzen, who designed three cabinets and two coffee-tables, “a visual metaphor of the glorious fading glory”
‘ There has also been a growing interest in club culture, an area in which these Radical designers were active: the only spaces they actually built were discos. Nightclubs gave them space ‘to experiment and imagine… outside of commercial and corporate constraints “ ………… Catharine Rossi
Back in the 1980’s Gufram produced contract furniture for discotheques, one particular collection, now known as ‘The Spaces of Freedom’, was the inspiration behind a series of bold, modular furniture by Italian design duo, Atelier Bigaetti.
“ I immediately thought of them for two reasons: their innovative work on upholstered furniture, and the fact that they come from Romagna, an Italian region famous for its iconic nightlife ‘” ……………………. Charley Vezza
BETSY by Atelier Biagetti for Disco Gufram
Posted by Gufram on Wednesday, 11 April 2018
” The collaboration was ‘a meeting of minds, we feel very close to Gufram’s cultural codes and references; it’s a company which moves very fast when it comes to innovation and research. ” ……….. Biagetti and Baldessari
Consisting of Jimmy, Charly, Betsy, Tony and Stanley, each piece is conceived as a person with a precise attitude, a sense of humour, a beauty.
Biagetti and Baldessari drew inspiration from the area’s clubs, such as Baia Imperiale and Coccoricò, but also reinterpreted elements of Gufram’s back catalogue into five new modular sofa designs, including a tartan and pink neon number, a large velvet offering, a soft blob of shimmering lilac, as well as a cluster of iridescent pouffes, and a golden leather sofa that can repeat and extend to create either a twisting or semi-circular composition.
It is the first time that Gufram, a specialist in polyurethane foam, has produced upholstered furniture.
“They are personalities in themselves that demand human interaction and reaction, a key element of Atelier Biagetti’s work that explores the physical and psychological power of object and space ”
” Each sofa in the Disco Gufram collection is designed to be modular and expand fluidly into a space. We decided to let them totally influence us, giving them a second life. Each piece is conceived as a person with a precise attitude, a sense of humour, a beauty, also some vices and dreams that get wild during the night ” ………………… Alberto Biagetti
‘ After Party’ cabinets & tables
When Charley Vezza first saw the deflated, Dalíesque disco balls created by Dutch artist duo Rotganzen, he knew they would be a perfect addition to the nightclub-inspired collection he was plotting.
Dancing had been on his mind since he found an old 1980’s catalogue of contract furniture for discotheques in the Gufram archives which featured a series of striking modular upholstered pieces.
Rotganzen.founders Robin and Joeria, known for their site-specific installations and manipulated disco-balls, designed ‘After Party’; a series of furniture that features melting disco balls atop specially designed lacquered cabinets and coffee tables.
Rotganzen laced their melting disco balls atop specially designed lacquered cabinets and coffee tables which serve as pedestals to their ‘Gleaming Disco Drops’, representing a melancholic reminder of the temporary nature of the glamour of a night out.
The studio describes the amorphous disco balls of the collection as a ‘visual metaphor of fading glory,’ intended as a playful image of the past.
Dance Floor Rug
DANCE FLOOR rugs by Studio GGSV for Disco Gufram
Posted by Gufram on Thursday, 5 April 2018
The last piece in Vezza’s discotheque had to be a suitably groovy floor to showcase the furniture.
Gufram commissioned Gaëlle Gabillet and Stéphane Villard’s Paris design studio GGSV to create a series of graphic rugs after coming across one of their dazzling installations at the Centre Pompidou
“The Dance Floor ” rug is the encounter of a striped font and a podium under a neon light, so that you are the King of the divan,” explains Gaëlle and Stéphane on their collaboration.
The ‘Dance Floor’ rugs were developed to invite dancers to stand in the middle and ‘do the freak’, and bring a dance-floor aesthetic with curvilinear, tubular designs that come in three sizes, 318 x 290cm; 290 x 180cm; and 300 x 198cm.)