While the 1980s are back in a big way in the fashion houses of Paris and Milan, the furniture industry is also having a revival – or in this case a relaunch – of one Italian-Austrian designer Paolo Piva, and his most famous design the Alanda.
At the Milan Furniture Fair this year, B&B Italia revisited the work of a number of architects and designers but it was Paolo Piva, synonymous with the innovation-led journey of the Italian furniture industry, whose work defines the 1980s.
Paolo Piva studied architecture under the guidance of architect Carlo Scarpa in Venice and it was this beginning that really shaped his career. Research into new ways to make things became his focus, and working with Italian furniture makers in the 1970s opened up possibilities and opportunities to explore adventurous ideas.
Working with B&B Italia in the early 80s on the Alanda series, their collaboration began with a sofa and a bed and continued with the now iconic Alanda coffee table. With a glass top and wireframe base, its design captures a moment in time that could be read as an anti-Memphis statement Its transparent surface and simple wire base everything but the loud clash of colour and texture of the 80s Memphis movement.
Cooler than Studio 54 and beautifully simple in its execution, the Alanda’s structure is both its pedestal and support, with a large glass slab to finish. There lies its beauty. Reminiscent of the work of another famous Italian, Achille Castiglioni, who reimagined industrial machinery parts to create beauty from the basics.
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