Italian Design at 2018 Winter Olympics

Switch Modern was delighted to learn that several Italian manufacturers that we represent - Edra, Glas Italia, and Riva 1920 - were invited to provide the furnishings to create the interiors for Casa Italia at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea.

Casa Italia functions as the hospitality center for the Italian delegation at the Olympic Games.   In Pyeongchang, Casa Italia is beautifully situated within a modern chalet enclosed by glass walls at the Yong Pyong Golf Club. These interior images include iconic seating and surfaces from Edra and Glas Italia.

Dramatically used within one interior is Edra's Aster Papposus seating system designed in 2006 by the Campana Brothers.  This generous seating composition was actually inspired by the starfish.  Its form is created by overlapping and twisting two similar and complementary volumes into a visually unified mass that contains no rigid internal support structure - each volume is entirely composed of polyurethane foam and goose down.  The upholstery cover was developed exclusively for this piece... composed of very thick velvet ensures tactile softness yet creates the illusion of the bristly surface of a starfish.

Naoto Fukasawa's Bent bench (left photo) and Johanna Grawunder's XXXtables (right photo) are manufactured by Glas Italia.  Fukasawa's Bent bench underscores the designer's profoundly intuitive understanding of minimalism.  Composed of 12 mm extra-light glass that not only ensures the levity engendered by the transparent material, it also provides the necessary thickness to guarantee its function as seating.   The arrangement of the colored glass planes in Grawunder's XXX table series provide a visual interaction that is extraordinary.  The laminated base glass is translucent pink, orange, and yellow - the round tops are available in a choice of those three colors.

And several iconic Favela chairs were used in the interiors. Designed in 1991 by the Campana Brothers (production beginning in 2002) by Italian manufacturer Edra, the Favela chair is an early example of the designers' work that underscores their process of construction and assemblage.  The chair is crafted by hand with rectilinear pieces of wood in varying widths and lengths that are skillfully nailed and glued together one over the other in a random way.  The chair's inspiration was the shacks that are similarly constructed in the favelas of their native Brazil.  The Favela chair is included in the permanent collections of numerous museums worldwide.

The interiors of Casa Italia's modern chalet include several seating areas that feature edgy seating designs by Edra and Riva 1920 paired with some spectacular new table designs by Glas Italia.

Spotted in the left side photo is Neill Brodie's Curve bench for Riva 1920 that is as much sculpture as it is seating.  Designed in 2012, Curve is constructed from a single block of aromatic cedar - distinguished by its enigmatic form that features an asymmetrical arch shape below the flat seating expanse. The manipulation of the inherent striations, rings, and knots of the cedar wood is masterful. Lengthwise, these striations evoke movement as they traverse the sculptural form; the knots function as punctuation.

Paired with the Campana Bothers' Favela chairs are Tokujin Yoshioka's Fountain tables that were recently introduced by Glas Italia.  Available in three versions, each Fountain table quite literally distills the aesthetics associated with water flowing from a spring; each features a composition in poured glass that is hand-shaped and chiseled into its sculptural form. The very nature of the table's production is underscored by an unexpectedness that ultimately makes each Fountain table unique. The integrated surface top is also poured glass and mimics a pool of water.

Another Casa Italia interior features an arrangement of Francesco Binfare's Sofa Gran Khan (upper photo) around Nendo's fabulously minimalist and ethereal rectilinear glass boxes as table surfaces (lower photo).

Sofa Gran Khan provides a profoundly atypical sofa aesthetic through the addition of a rough cut leather that appears to be tossed onto the sofa form.  Inspired by the use of animal skins by nomads in Mongolia, the sofa's "throw" is actually made of two pieces of leather - each with a remarkable 4 mm thickness. These are seamed together in the center and joined to the sofa invisibly with aluminum fasteners.

Nendo's Soft tables are constructed of 6 mm extra-light, acid-etched glass. The glass is beveled at a 45 degree angle, tempered, and thermo-welded. The joints between the glass sheets are colored with marked bi-chromatic lines that enable one color to both blend and gradually morph into another color. There are three versions: light blue/blue, yellow/orange, and violet/pink. Like osmosis, the color from each table's edge moves to the glass surface creating very thin and hazy halos. This engaging color treatment, together with the acid-etched surface, create the illusion of softness within this material typically associated with rigidity.

This Casa Italia interior is a playful arrangement of Francesco Binfare's Pack sofa for Edra with an assortment of sculptural stools created by various designers for Riva 1920.

The Pack sofa features a base composed of two polyhedric shapes that visually suggest an ice floe covered with a fabric specifically created with a texture that connotes the complexity of the ice layers. Lying atop the base is the bolster with a schematic form of a bear lying on its side. Covered by ecological fur, this "bear bolster" is weighted within and sports a non-slip leather underside. This allows the user the flexibility of changing the position of the bolster yet, once placed, keeping it firmly fixed as a back rest. As much sculpture as it is sofa, Pack evokes the coziness and playfulness of childhood memories of a favorite stuffed animal while perhaps simultaneously serving as a poignant reminder of climate change.  Available in a white colorway as illustrated in Casa Italia; also available in a dramatic black version.

Switch Modern applauds all of the athletes competing in the 2018 Winter Olympics and we are delighted that their leisure time can be enjoyed within these interiors created with some remarkable objects by our manufacturers Edra, Glas Italia, and Riva 1920.