Radical Legacies


13 – 16 Oct 2023

Curatorial text: Charmaine Tam

1/F, Liang Yi Museum, 181 – 199 Hollywood Road

Sheung Wan, Hong Kong

Radical Legacies

Charmaine Tam

Italy’s Radical Design movement emerged in the late 1960s and was influential till the late 1970s with three major centers of activity: Milan, Florence, and Turin. Radical Legacies spotlights Turin and the many experiments in industrial design that started with the birth of Gufram in 1966, and its close collaboration with the Turin exponents of Radical Design, a large group of designers, artists, and architects including Pietro Derossi, Giorgio Ceretti, Riccardo Rosso, Studio 65, artist Piero Gilardi, Franco Mello, and Guido Drocco. At the time, Radical Design was fighting against established power structures in certain key areas: home, city, and education. Members were protesting against functionalism and established taste in design and architecture. Gufram’s expertise in the new materials of polyurethane foam and latex rubber coating allowed a break-through in design freedom, facilitating the influence of pop art in furniture design.

These influential creatives were driven by curiosity and passion for whimsical design that defined norms of the day, embracing design anti-conformity as a point of pride and joy and echoing the spirit of the late 1960s cultural revolution happening around them. Their bold take redefined contemporary notions of “furniture”, synthesizing brilliantly bold shapes and silhouettes with expert artisanal processes and materials.

The world was watching, and the work of that radical generation of creatives gave rise to a company now known for many of the most iconic pieces of contemporary furniture history has ever known. These works reject the useless perfection of products and reveal the hypocritical practices underpinning them; when they are produced, the form they assume redeems the freedom inherent in their unexpected creative potential. They create surprising, disrespectful approaches.

Inspired by a photograph of the Acropolis in Athens in which exhausted tourists were resting against truncated columns, in their Capitello (1971) chair Studio 65 deconstructed and quite literally overturned the Ionic column. Their seat transforms both the function and symbolism of the column, taking it from the elites and giving it – in the form of pliable polyurethane foam – to the masses. Bocca (1970), the giant alluring red lips sofa also by Studio 65, pays tribute to both Salvador Dalí’s surrealist portrait of actress Mae West imagined as an interior, turning that into reality, as well as sex symbol of the time, Marilyn Monroe. Cactus (1972), the coat stand designed by Franco Mello and Guido Drocco evokes desert landscapes with its spineless skin made of packaging material and brings the wild outdoors into the domestic realm. Pratone (1971), a seat shaped like a gigantic patch of grass by Giorgio Ceretti, Pietro Derossi and Riccardo Rosso echoes the same blurring of boundaries between the outdoor and indoor, natural and artificial, and elevates the sitter amidst its towering, abstract blades of “grass”.

Beyond these original design icons, Gufram continues asking the question ‘What is furniture’ with contemporary designers and creatives. Their pieces continue to inspire the world to think beyond the expected, and to imagine the infinite possibilities of what we can create: the true spirit of Italian Radical Design.



「激進的遺產」(Radical Legacies)主要聚焦於都靈,介紹眾多隨著Gufram於1966年成立而來的工業設計實驗,以及Gufram與其他都靈激進設計運動倡議者的緊密合作,包括皮特羅·德羅西 (Pietro Derossi)、喬治·塞雷蒂(Giorgio Ceretti)、里卡多·羅 梭(Riccardo Rosso)、Studio 65、藝術家皮艾羅·吉拉迪(Piero Gilardi)、法蘭哥·梅洛(Franco Mello)和吉多·德羅科(Guido Drocco)等一眾設計師、藝術家和建築師。當時,激進設計運動正與既有的權力結構在家庭、城市和教育等各關鍵領域較勁。一眾成員 反對功能主義和既有的設計和建築風格,而Gufram在新材料聚氨酯 泡沫和乳膠橡膠塗層方面的專業技術,為傳統的設計限制帶來突破, 加速了波普藝術(Pop art)對傢俱設計的影響。


在全世界的注目下,這一代的激進創新人物組成了一家公司,如今,她以許多當代家具史上最具標誌性的作品而聞名於世。這些作品拒絕 無用的完美外衣,從而揭示它們虛偽背後的真象。當它們被生產出來時,它們的外形引證了它們意料之外的創意潛力中所蘊含的自由。它們創造了令人驚訝的、藐視傳統的態度。

在一張照片中,疲憊不堪的遊客靠在雅典衛城的斷柱上休息,Studio 65受此啟發,透過椅子Capitello(1971)解構並名符其實地顛覆了愛奧尼圓柱。他們的座椅改變了圓柱的功能和象徵意義,將其從精英手中奪走,以柔韌的聚氨酯泡沫形式,把它們賦予大眾。同樣出自Studio 65之手,是巨型而誘人的紅唇沙發Bocca(1970), 它既是對薩爾瓦多·達利(Salvador Dalí)的梅·韋斯特(Mae West)超現實肖像畫致敬,在此畫中,這位女演員被想像成一個現實中的房間;而它同時也是對當時的性感象徵,瑪麗蓮夢露(Marilyn Monroe)的致敬。Cactus(1972)是由法蘭哥·梅洛(Franco Mello)和吉多·德羅科(Guido Drocco)設計的衣帽架,由包裝材料製成的無刺表面,讓人聯想到沙漠的風景,並把戶外的野趣帶入家中。Pratone(1971 )是由喬治·塞雷蒂(Giorgio Ceretti)、皮特 羅·德羅西(Pietro Derossi)和里卡多·羅梭(Riccardo Rosso) 設計的一張形似巨大草坪的座椅,同樣地,它亦模糊了室外與室內、自然與人工之間的界限,以高聳、抽象的「草葉」,升起了坐者的位置。