If you’re familiar with Italian designer Martino Gamper, you know he’s all about process. In 2007, he created 100 Chairs in 100 Days from abandoned chairs found around London. The next year, he hacked apart and rebuilt some of Gio Ponti’s furniture, and later, the chairs of Carlo Mollino. It’s all part of a process that Gamper describes as “making rather than hesitating . . . of producing, and absolutely not striving for the perfect one.” It’s also utterly at odds with the traditional values of high-end furniture manufacturers.
The Metamorfosi is Gamper’s latest de/reconstruction project, courtesy of the Italian furniture mainstay Moroso. To celebrate its 60th anniversary in the business, Moroso invited Gamper into its Udine factory and let him go wild amongst their models and tools, which led him to take apart existing chairs and repurpose the techniques used to create them. The resulting chairs were exhibited at HangarBicocca in Milan last summer.
What makes these pieces so different from Gamper’s other reconstructions is the material he’s worked with. Moroso specializes in foam-form couches and chairs, like Ron Arad’s curving Victoria & Albert couch or Toshiyuki Kita’s red foam landscape, Saruyama. They’re classic pieces of mod design, usually created by molding big chunks of foam over a steel formwork and then covered in fitted fabric covers.
Gamper stripped away the textiles and tore them to shreds, restitching the scraps from one chair into scraps from a couch to create wild technicolor patchworks hybridized from dozens of Moroso pieces. Working with the Udine factory team, he subverted the formworks to create new foam forms, exhibiting them “nude” in the gallery. “Uncovered they look organic, like bleached bones strewn across a landscape,” say Moroso’s reps. “The pieces created by different designers from different periods morph together as if from the same animal.”
It’s a complete reversal of how furniture is typically judged by critics. Owning a couch by a well-known designer is a major marketing point for companies like Moroso, and Gamper has torn that standard apart by mixing up authors and histories, making it impossible to judge the value of a chair by the name of its creator.
Check out the full Metamorforsi series here.