Lady Chair
Italy, 1951
Marco Zanuso

Metal and upholstery
32 x 22 x 18"

Marco Zanuso was a modern Italian artist, architect, designer, and industrial designer. He studied architecture at the Politecnico di Milano from 1935 to 1939 afterwards teaching architecture, design, and urban planning until opening his office in Milan in 1945. In the late 1940s he began collaboration with Arflex to create a furniture collection utilizing a groundbreaking combination of polyurethane foam and elastic tape; his iconic Lady Armchair won the gold medal at Milan’s IX Triennale. Following the end of World War II, he lent his expertise as the co-editor of Domus and editor of Casabella magazine.

From 1957 to 1977 Zanuso partnered with German industrial designer Richard Sapper to create a new brand of techno-functionalist design including, the 1966 Grillo Telephone for Siemens and a series of mobile housing units for the Museum of Modern Art New York’s noteworthy Italy: The New Domestic Landscape exhibition in 1972. —Wright

An icon of 1950s’ Italian Design, the armchair-sofa Lady stands out for its extraordinarily contemporary construction, a symbol of innovation supreme, in terms of style, materials, and technology. In addition to being the first armchair to incorporate expanded polyurethane and foam rubber, the armchair’s seat showcased a new system of springing, using reinforced elastic straps to ensure premier comfort; meanwhile the slender, slim-line metal legs showcase the design’s lightness of touch. The structure is contained in the seat, the back, and the arms, the outcome being a veritable masterpiece of Italian furniture design excellence; so much so that Lady was awarded the Gold Medal at the IX Milan Triennale, in 1951. —Cassina

(Photo: MoMA)