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Ron Arad (1952)
Design took a radical turn in the 1980's, deconstructing the rigid ideology of the Bauhaus¨Coften with great humor. Avant-garde designers like Philippe Starck and Ron Arad brazenly borrowed from the "historical closet" of previous styles and created biomorphic forms with whimsical names like Arad's Big Easy Red chair, the After Spring Before Summer chaise lounge and the Empty chair. These chairs posed anew the question, "What ought a chair to be?"
Design maverick Ron Arad offered some interesting answers. Arad's early furniture combined materials associated with the high tech style and objets trouve to produce poetic post-industrial "readymades". His later designs in the 1980's such as the Big Easy Series were more refined and often involved costly labor intensive techniques that identified the pieces as "art" furniture, winning Arad international attention and commissions from prominent manufacturers.
Like the Tom Vac chair (1997) featured by DWR, Arad's work often suggests movement through graphic, gestural lines or references to organic forms. The Tom Vac chair also represents the designer's interest in exploiting the formal and structural possibilities of modern materials like the new plastics. One of Arad's most commercially successful designs is the Bookworm, produced by Kartell, and a part of the Vitra Design Museum. The Bookworm was also featured in the "Mutant Plastics" exhibit at MOMA. Its novel metaphor illustrates Arad's belief that design has a responsibility not only to utility, but to surprise and delight.
Arad first studied at the Jerusalem Academy of Art and the Architectural Association London and later opened his architectural design office, One Off Ltd., initially based in Covent Garden and later, Chalk Farm, London. Primarily known for chair design, Arad has also had important architectural commissions, including the interior for the Tel Aviv Opera House.
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