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Alessi + Sottsass: Iconic Design in the Late 1970s
By Roy Otwell
8/15/2017 1:38:00 PM  


Ettore Sottsass (1917 – 2007) would have turned 100 this year. In honor of this occasion, a number of museums and galleries have mounted retrospectives that explore Sottsass’ illustrious career over five decades as both an architect and product designer. Many of Sottsass’ designs are still in production for several manufacturers that Switch Modern represents – Alessi, BD Barcelona, Bitossi, Glas Italia, Kartell, and Zanotta. Throughout the remainder of the year, we thought our blog would be a great medium with which to explore various aspects of the objects developed for each of these brands. Today, we highlight the early part of Sottsass’ collaboration with Alessi in the late 1970s.

Along with several architects and designers in the 1970s – Franco Sargiani + Eija Helander, Alessandro Mendini, Richard Sapper, Riccardo Dalisi – Sottsass helped transform this Italian stainless steel manufacturer into Alberto Alessi’s vision of a “Design Factory.” While Sottsass started producing objects with Alessi in the 1970s, he continued to develop tabletop designs for Alessi in porcelain, wood, plastic, and metal throughout the 1980s and 1990s. His designs from the late 1970s are still in production today and are now considered icons.


1978: Sottsass develops an extraordinary range of tableware accessories – each piece like a small piece of architecture. The designer’s oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper shakers all feature a cylindrical form in thick, clear glass with caps in polished stainless steel akin to domes. In addition to the hugely popular 5070 set, Sottsass also created the 5071 parmesan cheese cellar and 5073 condiment set. Each of the components with each of these sets is also available separately – well-weighted cradle bases in polished stainless steel were developed for all of the sets allowing the user to easily move/present/place the group on a surface.


1979: In conjunction with Alberto Gozzi, Sottsass undertakes Alessi’s Programma 5 that carefully considers tools associated with preparing and serving cocktails, wine, and champagne. All of the resulting objects become some of the most popular barware pieces that Alessi produces. The forms of the various ice buckets are striking in their simplicity… the 5051 was designed for ice; the 5052 (available in two sizes) was designed to function as a wine or champagne cooler. While these can be used independently, they become uber-luxe when paired with the 5059 stand – a profoundly elegant piece that can be used adjacent to a table – moreover, in any interior where you would like to have easy access to an open bottle of champagne. Objects for the bar were also developed – the 5050 Boston cocktail shaker, 5053 strainer, 5054 stirrer, and 5055 ice tongs. Not only is each piece a beautiful object; each functions perfectly. The two-piece 5050 Boston shaker features a stainless base with a glass repository that is inverted to snugly fit within the base when shaking a cocktail. Using this piece is profoundly sensorial – not only does the transparent glass reveal the colors of the various liquors and mixers, the varying sounds of ice striking the stainless and glass creates a “symphony” in anticipation of that delicious libation. Bottle/drink coasters and a round tray in two sizes completed Programma 5.

We hope that you’ll check out all of the amazing Sottsass designs for Alessi that we show and stock in our Atlanta Alessi store – and, of course, all are also available at switchmodern.com. Stay tuned for additional blogs about Ettore Sottsass’ work for several other manufacturers.

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Categories: Accessories Design, Architecture + Design, Design Wise, Furniture
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Kartell Goes Sottass: A Tribute to Memphis
By Scott Reilly
8/12/2017 10:17:00 AM  


As part of a tribute to Ettore Sottsass (1917 – 2007), Kartell has created a collection of designs that take their inspiration from the graphics and forms pioneered by the designer through the Memphis Movement in the 1980s. In addition to offering historic, graphic textiles by both Ettore Sottsass and Nathalie du Pasquier on many of Kartell’s extant upholstered designs like Philippe Starck’s Mademoiselle chair and Piero Lissoni’s Trix daybed, Kartell put into production for the first time three of Sottsass’ designs. The Calice vase along with the Colonna and Pilastro tables/stools are exciting Kartell additions. All were designed by Ettore Sottsass in 2004/2005 and were posthumously placed into serial production by the Italian manufacturer in 2015.


Sottsass’ Pilastro and Colonna tables are perfect as occasional/side tables or impromptu stools, these also look great when presented as a cluster in front of a sofa.


Pilastro is reminiscent of Sottsass’ totemic sculptures with their tubular rings organized around a columnar form. Each of the five colors – black, green, pink, purple, and red – all sport a fabulous interplay of glossy and matte surface treatment.

At almost 19” in height, the Calice vase will certainly have great visual impact on any surface where it is placed. Its assemblage of “vertical steps,” integrated truncated column, and exaggerated base footprint are all elements that figure prominently in several of Ettore Sottsass’ designs.

Like the Pilastro table/stool and Calice vase, Colonna is also available in five different colors. Ideal as occasional tables or stools – their vertical flutes engender a mesmerizing optical effect.

Philippe Starck’s Mademoiselle chair (2001) is now offered in several textile patterns that Sottsass designed in the early 1980s – iconic Letraset, frenetic Schizzo, and criss-crossed Rete – each textile is available in three colorways. Also offered is Nathalie du Pasquier’s 1981 Burundi pattern for Memphis – its available in two colorways. With any of these new Mademoiselle upholstery options, one can select the chair’s polycarbonate frame in glossy black or transparent.


Piero Lissoni’s Trix daybed (2006) has never looked as engaging as it does in Sottsass’ iconic Letraset textile. Sottsass developed the Letraset pattern in 1981 – Kartell now offers this textile in three colorways for Trix (shown here in vibrant fuchsia).

In addition to the aforementioned designs, Piero Lissoni’s Audrey chair as well as his Pop and Plastics Duo collection of lounge chair and sofas are available in all of the Sottsass textiles. Patricia Urquiola’s Foliage lounge chair and settee are available in Nathalie du Pasquier’s Burundi textiles. For more information about these new Sottsass designs or any of the other Kartell pieces that are now available in these engaging textiles that pay homage to Memphis, please contact us at 404-605-0196 or info@switchmodern.com

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Categories: Accessories Design, Manufacturers, Furniture
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CVL Lighting: Tetra Wall Sconce
By Doug Henderson
8/9/2017 10:01:00 AM  


Tetra wall sconce, Émilie Cathelineau, CVL Lighting / CVL Luminaires Contract, France. Left photo: A dramatic installation of Tetra sconces – eight were used to create each of these flanking “wreath” forms. Right photo: Tetra used as a single wall sconce.

The Tetra wall sconce gets its moniker from its formal geometric shape… the tetrahedron. Its four-sided form is composed of an integrated back plate that affixes to the wall or ceiling along with three visible sides – two are composed of solid brass and one of opaque polycarbonate that functions as diffuser. Tetra is offered in choice of four finishes including graphite, nickel, brass, or copper – all versions are available in polished or satin finish.

Nekayah Snider, Switch Modern’s Outside/Contract Sales Representative, remarked that “Tetra always receives an enthusiastic response whenever I present this sconce to architects and designers – its unexpected and engaging form makes it an excellent choice for hospitality interiors."


Tetra can be configured to create a number of engaging installations. Left photo: Five Tetra are installed with partially touching sides. Right photo: This group of six Tetra touch sides at the lowermost part of the installation and then are presented as if they are visually “breaking away” from the others. When the sconces are presented as adjacent, up to five sconces can share the same power source.


Left photo: Tetra can be used independently as a single source of illumination or presented in multiples to create striking assemblages of illumination. Right photo: Organized like an “illuminated wreath,” this installation of eight Tetra sconces creates an octagonal reveal on the wall or ceiling.


The designer working on this project specified a Tetra sconce at each end of the bed’s headboard in all of the hotel rooms – these not only provide illumination but function as sculptural punctuation within the wall’s expanse.



CVL Lighting / CVL Luminaires Contract has provided some line drawings of the most popular Tetra sconce installations.

Switch Modern recently started representing CVL Lighting / CVL Contract Luminaires in the United States. All of the manufacturer’s designs are meticulously hand-crafted in France; all are UL-approved making them ideal for either residential or commercial applications. For more information about the Tetra sconce or any of the manufacturer’s designs that Switch Modern presents, please contact us at 404-605-0196 or info@switchmodern.com

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Categories: Manufacturers, Architecture + Design, Lighting
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Petite Friture: WEEK-END Collection
By Scott Reilly
8/7/2017 12:16:00 PM  


The WEEK-END Collection of outdoor furnishings designed by Studio Brichet Ziegler was recently introduced by French manufacturer and editor, Petite Friture. A comprehensive collection that includes dining chairs with or without arms, dining and bar-height tables of varying sizes, coffee and occasional tables, stool, lounge chair, bench, chaise longue, and even a child’s table and chair.


While slatted aluminum seating and surfaces for outdoor use have existed in various forms for decades, the designers, Pierre Brichet and Caroline Ziegler, have re-imagined these in a fabulously engaging way through their WEEK-END Collection. Slats are organized both vertically and horizontally within the same piece infusing the resulting form with an unexpected levity. The horizontally-oriented slats forming the upper portion of the backrest are objectified within an ellipse-shaped perimeter.


The entire collection is available with a choice of nine UV-resistant painted color finishes. Upper row (left to right): anthracite, white, blue, burgundy, and brown. Lower row (left to right): gray, yellow, black, and gold.

Switch Modern has recently started representing Petite Friture. We invite you to peruse some of the recent additions to our website. For more information about the WEEK-END Collection, or if there is a particular piece from this French manufacturer in which you are interested, please contact us at 404-605-0196 or info@switchmodern.com

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Categories: News, Furniture
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Bitossi Sale: 25% Off in August
By Elaine
8/2/2017 11:10:00 AM  



Switch Modern is having a summer sale on all Bitossi designs… all stocked pieces are 25% off throughout the month of August. A great opportunity to treat yourself to an object produced by one of Italy’s most celebrated potteries. And… get a leg up on annual holiday giving by selecting a perfect gift for the pottery lover on this year’s list.


Left photo: Benjamin Hubert’s Seam vessels were introduced in 2014. An extraordinary pottery range that is characterized by its visible “seams” that are treated as compositional design elements. These vertical “seams” are created during the slip-casting process and, rather than being “fettled” or trimmed off the piece, they are celebrated. Each vessel sports a sophisticated combination of interior and exterior matte finish glazes. Right photo: Design maestro and architect, Ettore Sottsass, started collaborating with Bitossi in the 1950s creating a fabulously graphic line of vessels – noted here are the designer’s Chalice and Reel – each is in stock and discounted 25% throughout August.


Aldo Londi, Bitossi’s creative director for several decades, not only pioneered a range of forms but innovative glazes including his much-loved Rimini Blu. This glaze is available on an extensive range of vessels and containers as well as the potter’s prized abstracted animal sculptures.

Thru 8/31, all Bitossi prices have been adjusted on the website to reflect a 25% discount from the regular retail price. All orders outside of Georgia ship tax free; shipping is complimentary on all orders. Again, all pieces are in stock and they will go quickly… if you would like to double-check inventory before placing an order, please feel free to give us a call at 404-605-0196 or e-mail us at bitossi@switchmodern.com.

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Categories: Accessories Design, Manufacturers
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Poliform: Dama Table or Stool
By Roy Otwell
8/1/2017 2:45:00 PM  


The Poliform Dama table or stool is the perfect anywhere surface. Its cylindrical base tapers inwardly as it approaches the top – akin to being “cinched,” it cants sharply outward to define the top. The Dama table’s slightly concave surface makes it comfortable for use a stool yet it can also do double duty as an impromptu table.


The Dama stool is fabricated with a choice of Canaletto walnut or cedar wood. Given the inherent natural properties of the latter, Dama will sport knots and irregular cracks that become an engaging component of the table/stool’s aesthetic. A concealed, integrated metal plate located on the underside of the form ever so slightly elevates the table/stool above the surface on which it rests – this design element provides tremendous visual interest.


In addition to the natural Canaletto walnut and cedar wood versions, Dama is also available in a range of finishes – a staggering 27 different matte colors and 19 glossy lacquer options. Dama is also offered with two different footprint diameters – 13.5” for solid wood and 15” for painted finish – each version is 18” height. Dama looks amazing when used independently; it also is extraordinary when presented as a cluster in front of a sofa or sectional. Need it fast? The natural cedar version of Dama is available as part of our Quickship program.

For more information about the Poliform Dama table or stool, please contact us at 404-605-0196 or e-mail us at info@switchmodern.com

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Categories: News, Furniture
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