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3 May 2022
The desk, the coffee table and the “checkered” carpet to bring the iconic series born in 1972 into the future
Simple and at the same time enigmatic, almost mysterious, the Quaderna collection was put into production by Zanotta in 1972 even though the Superstudio group had already begun to conceive it in 1969. The context is that of an era in which architecture explores new approaches to design not as a political choice but starting from a free observation of changing habits. In those years, in Italy, for example, a new way of conceiving the sofa was born, no longer devoted to a composed and rigid seat but rather to an informal and relaxed use. Because within the home there is greater freedom of movement and this translates into a freer vision even of the design. They are the architectural avant-gardes that take on ironic, carefree and lively forms but also deeply cultured and aware of the production dynamics.
With this background and with these perspectives, the Superstudio group began working on the concept of Misura M: a grid of squares with a 3cm center distance that the geneticist Eduardo Bencinelli at the time defined as Histograms of architecture. It is a module that can be declined indefinitely, potentially also for urban design and not just for furnishings. In 1972, thanks to Aurelio Zanotta’s foresight, this concept becomes the basic project of the collection that takes the name of Quaderna. Already at the time, the company set itself the goal of giving birth to furnishings without a life cycle, which had the aesthetic and technical quality of lasting over time and Quaderna, today on its fiftieth anniversary, confirms this approach.
The iconic checkered surface, so modern, preserves a manufacturing process that combines industrial production and craftsmanship accuracy. The pieces of laminate, on which the lattice is digitally printed, are applied individually following a precise sequence: first the legs are covered together with the thickness of the top, then continue with the external faces and finally the upper top. This work is handmade with the inlay technique and takes about eight hours of work to create a single piece. A single sheet of laminate is used for each Quaderna product so that the center distance, even if misaligned by a few tenths, is the same. To preserve precision down to the millimeter, once assembled the furnishings cannot be disassembled and this makes them even more unique and definitive.
And here that profound creative freedom meets a rigorous design order: this convergence of order and freedom is itself revolutionary, where order and freedom are historically seen as two opposite, almost contrasting approaches.
Quaderna, therefore, is a way of thinking, it is the ability to find balance but also to recognize changes in habits and desires. It is from this that the three new elements are born, introduced on the occasion of this important anniversary: the desk, the coffee table and the carpet.
The rectangular desk has a limited depth of 54cm which makes it resemble a console making it versatile and fluid, it also has a drawer hidden in the thickness, large enough to contain a laptop to facilitate order and keep the top clear. The new coffee table has a square shape of 90x90cm and a height of 30cm, ideal for the living room, as is the carpet, an absolute novelty. Hand tufted, made with 100% New Zealand wool yarn, high pile, it has a velvety effect to the touch. It reproduces the sketch of an unpublished Architecture Histogram provided by the Cristiano Toraldo di Francia Archive. A tribute to the creative matrix that half a century ago imagined a new way in which design, and production are related to each other.
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