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12 October 2021
Revolutionary and subversive, PRATONE® is back with a special edition and once again challenges the pre-established idea of the sofa
What is Pratone®? This is the question we still ask ourselves in front of the fiftieth anniversary of this object with unprecedented characteristics, impossible to be included in the classic categories of furniture and closer to a sculpture. A lay observer can only try to imagine what it is, a design enthusiast knows that it is an undisputed icon. Designed for Gufram by Giorgio Ceretti, Pietro Derossi, Riccardo Rosso in 1971, the Pratone® is the radical answer to the sofa. It looks like an exaggerated clod of lawn, in bright green polyurethane foam. The first aspect that stands out is therefore this exasperation of proportions which immediately calls into question the perception of things and the surrounding space.
Touch follows sight: the consistency of the polyurethane is soft and resilient and suggests the user to experiment with various types of interaction with Pratone®. By moving and bending the “blades of grass” and playing with them, the Pratone® transforms and welcomes the user, like a seat. The initiative of the person and his momentum of interaction make Pratone® a sofa, entrusting it with an otherwise indefinable functional identity. A sofa remains so even when it is not used, the same cannot be said of Pratone® which in itself is more similar to a sculpture than a piece of furniture.
It is a deliberately playful interaction, the dimension of free and informal play is supported by the color and material of the Pratone®. There are no rigidities and preconceptions: Pratone® is precisely for this reason a subversive response to the canons of bourgeois home furnishings, in turn linked to rigid and codified rules of conduct. In the promotional archive images, the setting is precisely that of a hyper-classic interior: here, on the Pratone®, two people try to find a way of seating. In another image, the Pratone® is placed inside a kindergarten: children, with their open mind and free of preconceptions, know how to interact with this element, with total naturalness.
The educational component takes the direction of the revolution by inviting people to experiment not only with new uses of domestic objects but also with a different approach to design. In this regard, it is interesting to note how Pratone® declines, albeit in a new way, some purely functional aspects: the size allows the seat for two or three people, just like a classic sofa. The Pratone® is also designed to be modular: it is possible to place several elements side by side to amplify its range.
Art, design, play and provocation are therefore the conceptual components of Pratone® of which Gufram, on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary, presents a new version. It is called Pratone®Forever and while borrowing the main features of the original, it comes in a size reduced by 30% and in three green options: green, greener and greenest. In the original version, the structure was painted with Guflac®, a patented finish by Gufram that allows the polyurethane to be filmed while maintaining its flexibility and softness. The Pratone®Forever is instead covered in fabric. The surreal aesthetic remains and even today Pratone® is able to question our approach to furniture and freely encourage creative thinking. In addition, thanks to its small size, the Pratone®Forever is suitable for smaller spaces in contemporary homes.
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