“If you look at these chairs, they are mainly made of air, like sculpture. Space passes right through them.” — Harry Bertoia. Lets have a look at the man behind the iconic Bertoia chair.
Bertoia was an inventor of form and an enricher of furniture design with his introduction of a new material: he turned industrial wire rods into a design icon. Bertoia taught metal crafts at Cranbrook and was educated at Detroit Technical High School, the Detroit School of Arts and Crafts and Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. He worked with Charles Eames to develop his signature molded plywood chairs. Eero Saarinen commissioned him to design a metal sculptured screen for the General Motors Technical Center in Detroit.
He struck designer gold with his introduction of industrial wire mesh in his collection for Knoll International in 1952. So much so, his commissions allowed him to devote himself fully to his first love: sculpture. He eventually went on to explore how metal can affect and produce sound, creating “sounding sculptures” like large wind chimes. Bertoia received awards from the American Institute of Architects in 1973 and the American Academy of Letters in 1975. Even today, we are still using his innovative forms in so many types of rooms. Like the Platner and Saarinen collections, these iconic pieces can stand alone or be paired with just about any furniture style, creating an instantly eclectic space.