Bird chair and ottoman designed by Harry Bertoia for Knoll International. Original 1970’s version with a more recent original cover by Knoll International, because the original cover was completely deteriorated. The current cover is in fine condition, slightly faded but no stains or damage. Dimensions of the ottoman : 60 x 36 x 42 cm.
Harry Bertoia was an Italian-born American artist, sound art sculptor, and modern furniture designer. Starting out as a painting student but soon being asked to reopen the metal workshop in 1939, Bertoia taught jewelry design and metal work. Later, as the war effort made metal a rare and very expensive commodity he began to focus his efforts on jewelry making, even designing and creating wedding rings for Ray Eames and Edmund Bacon’s wife Ruth. When all the metal was taken up by war efforts, he became the graphics instructor. Still at Cranbrook, in 1943 he married Brigitta Valentiner, and then moved to California to work for Charles and Ray at the Molded Plywood Division of the Evans Product Company. Bertoia also learned welding techniques at Santa Monica College and began experimenting with sound sculptures. Bertoia worked there until 1946, then sold his jewelry and monotypes until obtaining work with the Electronics Naval Lab in La Jolla. In 1950, he was invited to move to Pennsylvania to work with Hans and Florence Knoll. (Florence studied also at Cranbrook.) During this period he designed five wire pieces that became known as the Bertoia Collection for Knoll. Among these was the famous diamond chair, a fluid, sculptural form made from a welded lattice work of steel.
In Bertoia’s own words, “If you look at these chairs, they are mainly made of air, like sculpture. Space passes right through them.”