Born in Rome in 1914, modernist architect Lina Bo Bardi spent much of her life in Brazil, where she created some of the country’s most striking public buildings, including the “four-legged” São Paulo Museum of Art. The museum, which was built to straddle, thus preserving, a public square, aptly illustrates Bo Bardi’s most significant attribute, and one which informs her overarching aesthetic: her tender, humanist interpretation of modern design.
“In architecture she put people at the centre of her projects,” says Noemi Blager, curator of Lina Bo Bardi: Together, a roving exhibit which opened in Chicago, April 2015, and will conclude in São Paulo, Brazil, at the Centro de Lazer Fábrica da Pompéia, known as SESC Pompéia (one of Bo Bardi’s own designs) in October, 2016. The exhibit highlights Bo Bardi’s inclusive philosophy, celebrating a creator whose cannon seems to be undergoing a well-deserved modern renaissance.
Case in point: Italian furniture maker Arper has resurrected Bo Bardi’s 1951 Bowl Chair prototype for modern day production. “The chair had never been manufactured industrially [before];” says Blager, adding, “it was a terrible shame not to be able to acquire it.” A unique design made of two detachable parts, the bowl and a base, the Bowl Chair encourages playful versatility; it can act as a rocking chair when the bowl is placed directly on the floor, it can be reclined into a comforting nest, and it can even be stacked. “The Bowl Chair does not impose a position,” says Blager. “The myriad possibilities of finishes that Bo Bardi showed in her drawings attest her enthusiasm to give ample choice to reflect diversity of taste and individual expression.”
Blager feels Arper and Bo Bardi are kindred spirits—the furniture company certainly shares Bo Bardi’s knack for intellectual-yet-spontaneous design. “Knowing Arper’s values and products, I felt that had Arper existed in 1951, when the chair was designed, it could have been in their catalogue,” says Blager. Released in a limited edition of 500, profits from Arper’s rendition of the chair will support the Instituto Lina Bo e P.M. Bardi, as well as the traveling exhibition.
See more information and dates on the travelling Linda Bo Bardi: Together exhibit, here.
Images via Arper.