How an icon is born: the Bardi’s Bowl Chair by Lina Bo Bardi

26 July 2021

Bard's Chair

Dynamic architecture, sculpture, a pinch of play: all the ingredients that make the Bowl armchair by Lina Bo Bardi, now produced by Arper, extraordinary

The Bowl seat, designed by Lina Bo Bardi and produced today by Arper, is unique in its kind and goes beyond the classic concept of an armchair. It is, in fact, an eclectic and changeable project, nourished by the many solicitations that the designer’s professional life has welcomed, in her international and multidisciplinary path. She was born in Rome in 1914 into a family of Genoese origin, she graduated in architecture in her city and then moved to Milan. Here she worked as a designer in Carlo Pagani’s studio but at the same time collaborated with Gio Ponti on Stile magazine and other publications, as an editor and illustrator, and then became deputy director of Domus until 1945, when the magazine was suspended at the behest of the Republic of Salò. In 1946 she married the gallery owner and art critic Pietro Maria Bardi with whom she moved to Brazil. Here she was in charge of the interior design of the Museum of Modern Art of Sao Paulo, of which her husband was director. In 1951 she too designed the Casa de Vidro, now the headquarters of the Instituto Lina Bo and P.M. Bardi, which holds the archive of her works. In the same year, immersed in the suggestions of an international environment, the liveliness of Brazil and modern art, she designed the Bardi’s Bowl Chair.

Bardi’s Bowl Chair
Bardi’s Bowl Chair

The seat is characterized by two main elements. The first is the essential and functional metal structure consisting of a ring supported by four legs. The second is the padded element that looks like a “bowl”, a padded hemispherical bowl made even more comfortable by the presence of two circular cushions. The result has a unique aesthetic of its kind but also the function is totally unexpected: the hemisphere rests on the metal ring and its position can be changed at any time, assuming both the structure of a classic armchair, and the more playful one of a nest in which to relax or perhaps read.

Bardi’s Bowl Chair

Precisely this combination of flexibility and essentiality makes the Bardi’s Bowl Chair an extremely versatile seat, a feature also supported by the spherical shape, without edges, and therefore welcoming and neutral. An extremely innovative approach, if we think that the armchair was designed at the beginning in the 1950s at the dawn of a modernism characterized by square, functional and austere shapes. And if there are only two examples of the original project, in black leather, preserved in the Casa de Vidro, the sketches found suggest the designer’s desire to light it up with color and with lively and decisive combinations. It is precisely from this aspect that Arper’s research began and he decided to re-edit the iconic seat, in a philological journey whose result is a limited series of 500 pieces conceived in collaboration with the Lina Bo and P.M. Bardi.

Bardi’s Bowl Chair

Arper’s Bardi’s Bowl Chair is therefore the result of in-depth research and experimentation, carried out with the Institute and aimed at reformulating the project whose drawings were found but with few technical details. A joint approach of design and craftsmanship has led to the final result that perfectly embodies the cultured and creative spirit of the designer and delivers to the future a precious and iconic seat, perfect in any context and with a beauty and value that over time can only increase. The Arper limited edition is available both in the classic black leather finish, evocative of the original example from which it all began, and in a series of colors and shades of the seat and cushions, to match and combine.

Bardi’s Bowl Chair
Arper Bardi’s Bowl Chair
Arper Bardi’s Bowl Chair

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