Milan – This will make sense in a few paragraphs: in Italy, commitment to environmental sustainability in the furniture industry has to do with Sophia Loren’s cooking.
But first, a few steps back. During this year’s Salone del Mobile, contract furnishings company Pedrali presented 10 new collections in a grand exhibition space aptly titled #PedraliPalaceofWonders – Calvi Brambilla dreamed up nine separate sets and one ample café-like central courtyard. The manufacturer worked with several designers, from Patrick Jouin to Eugeni Quitllet, to produce pieces such as the Héra armchair and the outdoor version of the Soul armchair. But one particular commission stood out: the Tribeca Lounge outdoor series, the Jamaica armchair and the Folk chair, all devised by CMP Design. These pieces connected the carefree past and a careful future in a way that gives soul to the supply chain.
Take, for example, the Tribeca Lounge pieces. The obvious callback for the armchair and the two-seater sofa is the ubiquitous patio chair from the 60s, made from steel and woven cord. But CMP’s iteration was actually inspired by something else: pasta making and marlin fishing, all in the name of making a timeless, more humane piece of furniture. ‘This collection might look friendly, but it hides inside an ergonomic innovation,’ explained Antonio Pagliarulo, one third of CMP. The woven-cord chairs of yore would deform due to heat and use, which would earn them a quick trip to the trash pile. Theirs avoid that end by taking the extra-strong nylon thread used for marlin fishing and covering it in extruded PVC via a custom-designed machine that closely resembles a penne-making one. ‘Because we don’t just design a chair – we design a process,’ added CMP co-founder Michele Cazzaniga.
By introducing this type of tweaks in production, CMP Design and Pedrali are treading their own path towards increasingly considerate pieces. First, these innovations make for longer-lasting pieces. And then there’s the matter of designing objects that are as beautiful and comfortable but as little invasive as possible, to make sure they can be used in any type of environment, in any type of era. ‘Look at the Tribeca, the Folk or the Jamaica – your eyes can go through the chair,’ co-designer Simone Mandelli pointed out.