contemporary furniture (1949)
In 1949 a group of technicians Aldo Bai, Pius Reggiani, Aldo Barassi, from Pirelli and a young architect Marco Zanuso began to experiment with the use of foam rubber and elastic straps for furniture.
Inspiring operation is Marco Zanuso, one of the earliest architects involved with the industrialization of the product, the application of new materials to new technologies.
In history and in the life of a company there are events and moments of special significance, which are awards of merit acknowledged by all. Those first memorable dell'arflex coincide with his birth, in a small factory in Corso di Porta Vittoria in Milan. There he formed the first nucleus organization of production and sales, but the first public meeting took place at the IX Triennale in Milan in 1951 after two years of experimentation. It is this first appearance to the forefront of a field of avant-garde artistic that it should be noted in the company's history, because this experimental interest, if not separated from commercial purposes, the desire to create products of high technological level and aesthetic, on the basis of thorough research and experimentation. The Gold Medal of the IX Triennale assigned to Lady armchair was awarded the first of this aspect of the production arflex.
The attention is constantly directed to arflex cultural experimentation, managing to impose new technological products, very uncommon for the time: as the Lady armchair (Zanuso 1951Medaglia d'Oro at the IX Triennial), the sofa Sleep-o-matic ( Zanuso 1951 Gold Medal at the Tenth Triennial), the seat-belt (Zanuso 1952 first example of dressing design), the chair Fiorenza (Franco Albini, 1952), the chair Fourline (Zanuso 1964, Gold Medal at the XIII Triennale) the chair Lucania (De Carlo 1954), the chair Delfino (Carboni first experiments of animal-design). The chairs Electra and Neptunia (1953 and '54) BBPR or Hall sitting (Mangos, 1958) and the first moving direction of Robert Mangoes 1961, to allow you to enlarge the production or office furniture for public environments as well as those for the house.
From 1950 to 1960 in his research involves architects in the postwar years had fueled the debate on the redefinition of the Modern Movement in architecture and design (BBPR, Albini, Zanuso, De Carlo, f.lli Castiglioni).
Fiat Topolino Between 1951 and 1954 and designed by Carlo Barassi, arflex put into production some models of car seats (Baby Seat MilleMiglia and adaptable for Fiat Topolino). It replaced the standard seat and offered outstanding comfort, thanks to the use of foam rubber and elastic tapes. The covers were removed and the seatbacks fold. Arflex gave his contribution to the comfort to the Italians who were beginning to travel.
Between 1955 and 1960 began its spread in foreign markets by setting up subsidiaries in the manufacture and sale, Benelux, France, Switzerland and Spain.
The group of designers collaborating expanded over the years, including several components of Italian design and projecting of future generations, we need only mention Carlo Bartoli, Maurizio Calzavara, JoeColombo, Sergio Mazza to Cini Boeri.
Very innovative, in terms of technology because of the formal, are produced from the mid-'60s: Gaia (Bartoli, 1965) is a chair in polyester resins and fiberglass, Bobo (Boeri, 1967) is the first session block foam, without internal structure; Serpent (Boeri, 1971) is a revolutionary sofa in polyurethane assuming winding shapes for an endless length. Immediately following the Strips (Boeri 1972 Golden Compass in 1979) perfect for a new way to be totally unbound from traditional 'labels', experienced as a liberating attitude, be treated as sleeping bags that slip, or soft to wear anoraks.
While expanding the collaboration with architects and designers, arflex the late 60s through life to other affiliates (arflex Japan dates back to 1969, arflex du Brasil 1970) a species-arflex look coming out a few years later all the world.
In 1969 built a new factory in Limbiate and renewed the show-room, one in Rome at that historic Burgundy Street in Milan.
In 1966 arflex with Cassina, Tecno and Bernini found the Octagon magazine, which became one of the major architectural magazines.In the 80 arflex under new ownership continues to maintain its commitment to collaborate with architects, by Luca Meda, Michele De Lucchi, Anna Castelli Ferrieri Paolo Nava to FabrizioBallardini (Flips couch in Cologne Prize 1993 awarded Top Ten), to architects foreigners such as: Oscar Tusquets, Burkhard Vogtherr, Isao Hosoe.
In 1995 the brand was sold to seven spa salons, who reopens the CorsoEuropa showrooms in Milan (curated by Pierluigi Cerri 2001) and restarts production of a range of products for the historical archive not just a reissue, but the line still very modern, functional, their surprising relevance and uniqueness.
The new owners continued working with international architects: Studio Cerri, Studio Sottsass, Michele De Lucchi, Isao Hosoe (Dune, 1995 The Design Distinction Award) Hannes Wettstein (Spline Award International Design Award 2002), Prospero Rasulo, Carlo Colombo Christophe Pillet, Vincent Van Duysen, Cini Boeri, Charles Ferrando, Mauro Lipparini, Burkhard Vogtherr, restarts collaborating with young designers such as Monica Graffeo producing chair Mints (Young & Design Award 2004).
arflex also incorporates the 'trial-research' created by Zanuso-arflex in 1950 where the shape of the object was given by the materials and technologies, are an example of the table by Stefano Gallizioli of 2002, whose form is constrained by a innovative, patented technology for the production and assembly of the plan or how the seating airports Mangiarotti in 1998 where the marble base was obtained with a new cutting technology. These products were only prototypes, but the shelves are put into production, designed by Giuseppe Vigano Live 2004, which adapted the shape of the bracket to a utility patent invented by the company.
Not only products and experiments, but the commitment is taken in the dissemination of culture, the path outlined in 1960 by Domus and Gio Ponti (first International Design Competition), giving rise to a series of cultural activities:
- With 3 Italian Universities, competitions in 1999 ('sessions for the community') and 2004 ('The taste for beauty and pleasure of living').
- A traveling museum of the masters (Zanuso, Boeri, Carboni and Albini) tapping countries such as Belgium, Japan, England, Holland, Brazil and Germany.
- Producing two books: 'Modern Times' in 1997 by Franco Mirenzi and 'Design of Modern Times' in 2004 by Franco always Mirenzi whose content covers research, unpublished photographs and the experiments conducted by arflex Zanuso and products that have made the history of Italian design.- April 2007 on the occasion of his 60th birthday at Via Savona arflex presented in an exhibition, its historical, exposing for the first time to the public (42,000 visitors).
Marketing & Communication
arflex has always taken care of in this particular aspect of its promotional activities in the windows of his showroom to advertising catalogs.
The windows of the showroom are always arflex for the first direct contact between the production and the public, not so much as a showcase for the presentation of new models but as a space in which objects are placed outside the usual context, from the windows of Daniela Usellini those treated by Pierluigi Cerri, Hannes Wettstein, Carlo Colombo.
The advertising campaign arflex has always developed on two tracks: one related to advertising sales and the propaganda tricks. One example is the advertising campaigns in the past or those Giancarlo Iliprandi Mirenzi Franco, Francesco Messina, Pierluigi Cerri and Carlo Colombo today.
For photos and art direction arflex it is always best entrusted to professionals: Herbert Carboni, Confalonieri, Pintori, Provincial Michele, Michele Hope, Albert Steiner, Grignani, Bruno Munari, Vitale, Iliprandi, Tablecloth, Aldo Ballo, Edward Sancassani, Oliviero Toscani, Tiziana Violano, & Salvati Salvati, Francesco Messina, Franco Mirenzi, Patricia Scarsella, Pierluigi Cerri, Hannes Wettstein, Carlo Colombo.