design language etc. design practice and theory 

updated: october 2001

the chickenwire chair by Harry Bertoia


Wire Chair
The Wire Chair, by Harry Bertoia from 1950.
Bertoia was not the only designer around 1950 thinking about the possibilities of chairs in cheap wire mesh, Charles Eames and his wife Ray worked on a similar, even cheaper, model (note 1).These chairs are like webs floating in the air: visual lightness was searched for. The gradual transformation of the curves of the wire net reflects those of some mathematical three dimensional functions. 
Morellos drawing
Augusto Morello, for example, designed this Bertoya's chair similar curve on his computer. (note 2) 
DARCYfish DArcy Thompson used such functions to illustrate the mathematical relationships in the morphology of different species. (note3)
note 1 for the historic details: Pat Kirkham, Charles and Ray Eames. Designers of the twentieth century, MIT Press, Cambridge Mass. 1998 (1995), p.240 ff.
note 2 Augusto Morello, president of the ICSID,the International Organisation of Design Associations, created a program to draw such functions. Its application concerning the Bertoia Wire Chair is shown here.
note 3 D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson, On Growth and Form, Cambridge University Press, London, 1917 
A site concerning Thompson's shape transformations:
back to the analysis of the red blue chair.
look at the other easy chairs.
Next page is about symbols in design
about the modular grid the meaning of colors in Rietvelds chair back to the general analysis of Rietveld's chair


   andries van onck