It’s impossible not to recognize it, with its forcefully iconic identity and regular geometric forms, and even more for its covering in white checked laminate, specially created by Print based on design by Superstudio: a simple, rigorous grid that generates the name of the collection itself in a totally natural way. The Quaderna series celebrates its 50th anniversary and proves that it is just as timely today as it was in the past. Zanotta begins the festivities by delving into the original catalogue of the Misura M series of Superstudio to discover two unprecedented pieces, the table and the desk, plus a special item, the carpet, as a tribute to the Florence-based group. They join the three previous tables (square or rectangular), another desk, a console and a low table.
The new Quaderna writing desk and Quaderna table present a vivid architectural image as simple checked tops supported by two sides to form a bridge structure. The Quaderna carpet, tufted by hand in 100% New Zealand wool with a velvet effect, stands out for its design that faithfully replicates a sketch of an ‘Architectural Histogram’ found in the archives of Cristiano Toraldo di Francia, with a white background and gray and black lines, depicting the isometric design of the desk.
Recognized as a collection-manifesto of Radical Design, the series was created from 1969 to 1972 by Superstudio, during years of transition and explicit critique of the status of design and its dogmatic academic functionalism, countered by a liberating vision of life and work. The idea of the squared grid took form in the Histograms project on which the Florentine studio was working in 1969: objects constructed on the basis of an orthogonal spatial grid, adapted to various scales, from product design to urban planning.
A single checked plane was then interpreted in a table, bed, chair, bench, desk, wardrobe, stool, etc., to generate the catalogue of the Misura M series: furnishings and objects in wood clad with Print plastic laminate, in the no. 6 finish designed in 1969 by Superstudio for the traveling exhibition “The Invention of the Neutral Surface” created by Archizoom, Clino Trini Castelli, Ettore Sottsass, George Sowden and Superstudio.
In 1972 Zanotta put part of the Misura M series into production under the name Quaderna, as the result of an industrial but highly crafted process. While the grid is made through digital printing, the laminate pieces are applied individually in a precise sequence, through manual work utilizing the inlay technique (it takes about eight hours to make a single piece): the perfect convergence of the lines of the grid determines the total homogeneity of the surfaces, giving the furnishings a forceful aesthetic character.