Hymn to the chair

Featuring research based on the ‘less is more’ approach, a narrative packed with meanings emerges from the project by Mario Ferrarini for a seat with essential lines

Mario Ferrarini
Mario Ferrarini

“This seems to be my year for chairs, though they are simply coincidences.” But it is no mere coincidence that the Quadra seat was shown this year at the Viccarbe booth in iSaloni, on the theme of Colaboración Mediterránea, together with Copa by Ramos-Bassols, Maarten Plastic by Víctor Carrasco, and the historic products of Jean-Marie Massaud, Patricia Urquiola, Arik Levy and others still. Quadra is the result of a long process of design and implementation inside the Valencia-based company, as Mario Ferrarini explains.

How did the collaboration with Viccarbe and with Victor Carrasco begin?
For some years I have been watching Viccarbe with interest, since it is one of the most dynamic companies in Spain, oriented towards an international market, with products that have affinities with my way of doing design. I was also intrigued by the figure of Victor Carrasco, as an entrepreneur and as a designer for important Italian brands. I wanted to know him in order to learn something, to better understand the company and to try to make my own personal interpretation with a project that was certainly not easy to imagine, in spite of the result which seems rather elementary. What attracted me to the brand was precisely the essential approach over the years, leading to linear, functional, iconic projects that rely on reduction of the parts, in tune with the principle of ‘less is more.’

Viccarbe, Quadra
Viccarbe, Quadra
Viccarbe, Quadra
Viccarbe, Quadra

So this was a shared, experienced design process?
A few years ago I presented some solutions to Viccarbe that I thought were interesting, without really getting into direct contact, without feeling the real needs but also the experiences from within the firm, the dialogue with people, the overall empathy with the space, the place, the Valencia district, the life of the city and the climate, which have a strong, positive impact on the company. These are all factors I felt were fundamental when several years later I finally met ‘Mr. Carrasco’ (he always smiles when I introduce him like that, and says ‘call me Victor’), and we were able to write this chapter of the story, called Quadra. A global project that is the result of shared experience.

Antoniolupi, Mastello
Antoniolupi, Mastello

What are the basic ideas behind Quadra?
I was interested in thinking about the idea of a minimal but surprising chair. Driven by the constant desire to position products in harmony with their context, I try to refine ideas in terms of proportions, to the point where the gaze suggests a sort of stasis. The elementary structure is a clear tribute to the elegance of the compass, a perfect, delicate tool, a tribute to the technical drawing of the architect. Its grace reminds us of an image of great perfection: two bodies dancing in a moment, about to take flight. The chair is inspired by a dance of two figures, turning in complete harmony, in dialogue, embracing. A ‘pas de deux’ between a technical, metal, functional, slim structural core, and the warmth of wood. Dressed differently, the two bodies display a sense of alchemy from every angle. Just like the compass of the architect and the paper on which he draws.

Mun by Mario Ferrarini
Mun by Mario Ferrarini

What other products did you present at Salone 2019?
This seems to be my year for chairs, though they are simply coincidences. With Desalto we presented the Mun model, hinting at a possible future collection. With Potocco we moved – for the brand’s centenary – in the direction of die-cast aluminium for the Velis collection, one of the bestselling products. There is also the new Lyz collection. Developed together with a dear friend and colleague, Victor Vasilev, it is an outdoor seat but also something more, certainly with two spirits (he is the line, I am the circle), in harmonious dialogue. With Antoniolupi, for the bath we presented Mastello, a tub of small size but great comfort.

Protocco, Velissima
Potocco, Velis