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H AW O RT H C O L L E C T I O N M A G A Z I N E 2 0 1 4


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616.393.1000 ITEM #2350








Uncovering the DNA of an Eclectic Collection




BOLD ADVENTURE AND SURPRISE 24 Hours with Giulio Cappellini


Jasper Morrison


What’s on Marcel Wanders’ Playlist?




I N T O D E S I G N G R E AT S Fondation Le Corbusier & Cassina: A Collaboration for the Ages










Nicolai Czumaj-Bront






( I N A N Y F O R M I T TA K E S )

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Charlotte Perriand in the LC4 Chaise Lounge Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret and Charlotte Perriand by Cassina It is well known that the most famous Le Corbusier® and Pierre Jeanneret models would perhaps never have existed as we know them had it not been for Charlotte Perriand. Recognized by Le Corbusier as having extraordinary talent for interior design, Charlotte was loyal to the concept of the master, yet free to steer it to its end result.


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BENVENUTO! Since first introducing the Haworth Collection to the market in 2011, we’ve taken great pleasure in shaping its development and observing the design community’s enthusiastic response. Now, with the publication of this magazine, we’re pleased to share with you some of the stories behind the Haworth Collection and its unforgettable designs. Follow Giulio Cappellini through a typical day as he seeks out the brand’s next talented designer; read about the “intelligent hands” of Poltrona Frau’s leather craftsmen; take a peek into the in-house design studio at Haworth; and hear Giancarlo Piretti share about his original inspiration for the iconic Plia chair. Together, the stories in this magazine clearly demonstrate that the Haworth Collection is made up of more than just a selection of beautiful seating, tables and casegoods. It also encompasses many people, cultures, histories and partnerships, as well as an exciting vision for the future— a collection of the new designers and designs that will also be seen as “iconic” one day. At Haworth, we believe it’s our calling to identify and build relationships with the greatest design talent in the world, and then to ensure their pieces are available to lovers of great design, like you. For me personally, the most important element of the Haworth Collection is the opportunity to explore new cultures, to develop new relationships and to help nurture strong emotional connections between the people who design, build and ultimately use our products. It’s our hope that this magazine will play a role in doing exactly that. Enjoy!

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Haworth, President and CEO


NC-B RESONATE, Haworth Collection



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sking Franco Bianchi when he first fell in

That model started to take shape about three

love with design is a bit like wondering

years ago, as Bianchi began talking with others

when a fish fell in love with water.

about his vision. One key player in making

“I’m Italian, so I grew up in the middle of art and

the Haworth Collection a reality is Dan Tuohy, President of Tuohy Furniture, a Minnesota-

design,” says Bianchi, Haworth’s President and

based wood casegoods company that Haworth

CEO. “It’s hard to point to any specific moment

acquired part ownership of in 2009. Bianchi and

or object that impacted me. I just grew up with

Tuohy were together at the Orgatec show in

an appreciation that beauty and harmony are

Cologne, Germany, in January 2010 when the

a pleasure, they make a difference in the world.

idea began to crystallize.

It’s just how I am—it’s almost like having another sense.”

“We were looking at all the products there, all the beautiful things the North American market

With this “design sense” so embedded in his

doesn’t have access to,” says Tuohy. “And that

being, it’s no surprise that Bianchi, upon joining

whole time we were talking about design—what

Haworth Italy in 1992 and then coming to the

it takes to make pieces that people get really

US in 2002, had big plans for how to elevate the

excited about. We realized that we could come

company’s love of design to new heights.

up with something fresh together, with Franco’s passion for design and the big mothership of

“Putting beauty at the heart of our business was

Haworth behind him, and with my experience

important to me from the beginning of my time

in a more nimble, experimental side of the

at Haworth,” Bianchi says. “I always felt that we

design business.”

needed to put together a foundation of classics, designed by great designers from around the

Before long, the Haworth Collection was born.

world. But that was not to position us in the past,

Tuohy was put in place as Collections Manager,

it was more of a starting point—a way of creating

and the Haworth Collection was ready to meet

a design culture that moves us forward.”

the world in the spring of 2011 at ICFF, the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in

Bianchi says building a stronger connection with

New York.

the design community was a central goal. “We wanted that level of design credibility, so we

“We had over 70 great products and a new brand

needed an execution model to move us from the

up and running in just a couple of years,” Tuohy

idea and spirit of this to the reality.”

says. “Italy was a great place to start creating partnerships. They had these great pieces that weren’t being branded and brought to market, and Haworth was able to make that happen.”

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Bianchi says part of the beauty of the Collection

the emotional side of design and spaces, so

is rooted in its relationship with Haworth.

they connect with the Collection. And more experienced designers are seeing us in a

“Haworth is better because of the experimentation of the Collection, and the

different light, too. It’s given us a platform for starting a different type of conversation.”

Collection is better because of the science of Haworth. That’s why it was important that we

Even with its impressive lineup of iconic names

called it the Haworth Collection, that the two

and designs from the past, Casey, Bianchi

be directly connected and create a continuum,”

and Tuohy are most excited about where the

Bianchi says. “One drives the other to a better

Collection is going.

place. We can celebrate the differences and strengths of the two as well as a fusion of

“The goal is not just to be a reseller of great,

the two.”

classic designs, but also to produce exciting,

Mabel Casey, Haworth’s Vice President of

of the future as we are of the past. We’re

new designs,” says Tuohy. “We’re as cognizant Global Marketing and Innovation, says the

constantly seeking out new designers who will

creation of the Collection is opening new

create new pieces for these exciting brands—

conversations and opportunities for Haworth.

pieces that in 20 years people will recognize and say, ‘Oh yeah, that’s a killer piece.’”

“The Collection helps us connect with designers, and interface on different types of products

THEREIN LIES THE GREAT CHALLENGE—AND THE GREAT FUN— OF BUILDING ON THE BEST DESIGNS OF THE PAST, INTO THE FUTURE. “Freedom and flexibility are very important parts of the Haworth Collection,” Bianchi says. “It needs to always be some type of experiment, something that cannot be squashed

“It’s easy to have beautiful, iconic pieces from

by a business model. Each piece added to the

with different types of customers,” Casey

the past,” adds Casey, “but you have to always

Collection needs to have a unique perspective,

says. “We’ve also worked hard to reach young

be out there looking for new designers with

quality materials and a very personal connection

designers and this has really helped with that.

new stories and experiences, and different

with people. That passion for beauty and

They’re more connected to the experience,

perspectives from all over the world, not just

pleasure through design needs to always be

Europe and North America.”

central as we move forward.”


Members of a family share DNA and certain characteristics. Pieces in a clothing line or furniture line do, too—they look like they belong together.



hen it comes to the Haworth

In just three years, the Haworth Collection and

Collection, which was introduced

its three primary brands—Cappellini, Poltrona

to the market in 2011, the answer is

both abundantly clear and refreshingly malleable.

Frau and Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret and Charlotte Perriand by Cassina—have started

That’s because knowing great design when you

to “significantly move the needle” when it

see it is more an emotional knowledge than an

comes to Haworth’s design reputation, says

intellectual one, says Franco Bianchi, President

Mabel Casey, Haworth’s Vice President of Global

and CEO of Haworth.

Marketing and Innovation.

“Great design is not intellectual—it’s a cultural

“When designers are working on a space, this

encounter, a personal connection,” says

group of (Haworth Collection) products gives

Bianchi. “  This is the sense we rely on in building

them a chance to really make a statement—to

the Collection.”

create a powerful first impression, an identity

Bianchi has encountered an abundance of great

doesn’t do that. Workplace design is not just

design in his life, between growing up in Italy

about creating efficient workspaces.”

point,” says Casey. “A lot of office furniture just

and cultivating a storied career in the furniture design industry. One of his primary goals at

It doesn’t hurt, of course, that the three brands,

Haworth, since becoming President and CEO in

part of the Haworth Collection, include iconic

2005, has been to elevate the company’s design

pieces and acclaimed designers. From Tom

reputation—to make Haworth a go-to for great

Dixon’s S‑Chair and Marcel Wanders’ Tulip

designs that work their way into the emotions of

seating, to Giancarlo Piretti’s Plia folding chair

people who “have to have them.”

and the lounge seating by Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret and Charlotte Perriand by Cassina, the Collection is packed with pieces that generate those deep, emotional connections— connections that reach beyond “I like that piece,” to “I have to have it.”

Products featured (clockwise from top): LC4, Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret and Charlotte Perriand by Cassina; VANITY FAIR, Poltrona Frau; DSC AXIS 10000, Haworth Collection; SHETLAND, Haworth Collection; CLOUD, Cappellini.


“When I buy from the Haworth Collection, it’s not just a business transaction, it’s a personal connection,” says Bianchi. “It says we think the same and see the same, and we value harmony, the pleasure in great design.” While there are characteristics that the Collection’s pieces have in common—such as refined craftsmanship and the emotional pull of inspiring design—the 70+ pieces that make up the Haworth Collection are also strikingly diverse, created by designers of different eras and sensibilities, from all over the world. But in many ways, this pliable nature of the Collection, and the diversity and freedom it allows, is just another characteristic at the


heart of the Haworth Collection, says Kurt VanderSchuur, Haworth’s Corporate Brand Director. “Part of the beauty of a collection is that it can be

The challenge for the Haworth Collection

more eclectic—more about design freedom and

moving forward, Bianchi says, is to “take a

choice,” says VanderSchuur. “That freedom is

business proposition and make it an emotional

apparent in the Collection’s global influence.

proposition … to have designs that stand out

The Collection celebrates this global flavor,

from the blur, the cacophony of all the choices

working with fresh, up-and-coming designers

that are out there.”

from all over the world. We’ll keep evolving, because the world is changing.”

And that challenge lies not just with the classic pieces that are already a part of the Collection, but also with new designers and designs, into the future. “We want to applaud past designs and be proud of what we’ve done, but we don’t want to sit back and be content with what we have,” says Dan Tuohy, Collections Manager. “It’s a growing, ever-changing collection.”


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Products featured (clockwise from top): INOUT, Cappellini; COLLABORATE, Haworth Collection; QUADRA, Poltrona Frau; KENNEDEE, Poltrona Frau; LC1, Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret and Charlotte Perriand by Cassina.


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pon first seeing the full Cappellini

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“Giulio is really a talent scout,” says the brand’s

family of furniture, pinpointing a family

spokesperson. “He travels all over the world

resemblance might seem difficult. The

looking for talented new designers. He has an

pieces certainly share a bold sense of adventure,

amazing passion and eye for design—he knows

but that’s a trait that inevitably expresses itself in

what he likes and how to get it made.”

divergent ways. “He’s also a mentor. There’s a real collaboration And yet, somehow, Cappellini designs do look

between the designer, Giulio, and the

like they belong together—like they have a very

craftsperson making the furniture. Giulio works

significant commonality.

with young designers—he believes in them, and works to make their dreams come true.”

That’s because they do. They share the design vision and heart of a single man,

These “explorers of design between imagination

Giulio Cappellini.

and reality” have created a line of furniture that makes the dreams of design lovers around the

The son of Enrico Cappellini, who in 1946

world come true, too. Cappellini’s collections

opened the small workshop in Carugo, Italy

include works by Marc Newson, Jasper Morrison,

and gave it his family name, Giulio joined the

Marcel Wanders and Tom Dixon. Currently, 18

company as the Art Director in 1977.

Cappellini pieces are included in the permanent Design Collection at the Museum of Modern Art.

“Giulio’s personality is really at the heart of the Cappellini brand,” says a representative of

“Cappellini puts Haworth Collection up there

the brand. “There are about 150 pieces in the

as cutting edge, ensuring that they’re taking

collection, designed by more than 50 designers,

on the newest international talent and bringing

so it’s very eclectic, yet it feels like a cohesive

their designs to the contract market,” says

collection. No one else can do that. Giulio is

the representative.

essentially acting as a curator, pulling in this vast array of styles. Somehow, he gels them all together.”

“I go to Milan every April, and I know I’m always going to see something new I love by Cappellini. When the pieces come out, they’re ahead of

Before taking the lead at Cappellini, Giulio

their time—they’re creative, bold and innovative,

trained as an architect in Milan, studying with

improving on the past and doing something

many important architects and designers. After

exciting, daring and new.”

graduating, he worked as an intern in Gio Ponti’s studio, a position that not only sharpened his eye for design, but also inspired a passion for mid-century design—a passion that has shaped Cappellini. But that hardly means Cappellini—the company or the man—is stuck in the past. It would be impossible for Cappellini to get stuck, because Giulio never seems to stay in one place.


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6:30 AM The first thing I do each day is take a long shower, whether I’m at home or traveling. I always dress in a very classic way. I like beige, browns and blues—I’ve never worn anything black and I don’t wear bright colors. My typical uniform for the work day is a Brooks Brothers button-down blue shirt, a blue jacket, a beige or blue V-cut cashmere pullover and brown John Lobb shoes. I can never give up on a pochette in my jacket (translator’s note: pocket handkerchief)—I have an extensive collection of them by Hermès. I really like accessories in general, such as belts, wallets and briefcases, always Hermès.

7:15 AM Breakfast is very important to me. I drink black tea with milk, biscuits or bread with jam, orange juice and have an espresso to finish.

8:00 AM More than two hundred days of the year I am traveling, and I love it! When I am not traveling I go to my office in Meda, the town near Milan, where the Cappellini production is carried out. I like to go to the office early in the morning. I take my car there, since it’s out of town, and I enjoy listening to classical and contemporary music as I drive.


LUXOR, Cappellini



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9:30 AM

7:45 PM

My office is simple and bright. I work on a white

Dinner is the most important meal because it

desk and I sit on an office chair in blue fabric,

is the only time of day when my whole family is

both designed by Jasper Morrison. In my office

reunited. I really enjoy being at the table eating

I also have many books and travel souvenirs

a plate of pasta or risotto followed by a second

or gifts from friends. I do not use computers, I

course. This is the only time of day when I can

really like to write by hand.

eat in relaxation.

11:00 AM

My favorite restaurant is Le Langhe in Milan in Corso Como 6. I feel at home there and they cook the best pasta with tomato sauce in the

I see a lot of people at work during the day and

city. I prefer dinners with a few people in quiet

I think I’m quite extroverted although I often like

restaurants where you can talk and spend

to be alone, to have time for myself and to think.

time pleasantly.

I am very selective towards people, especially

9:30 PM

new. I have little time and I like to spend it with people whom I consider interesting and can enrich me. I hate arrogant people or who have

When I am not traveling, I usually spend my

no respect for the work of others—I tend to

evenings at home. I read thrillers, coming

ignore them immediately.

from one of my daughters who has a passion for them, and I like to read magazines or

1:15 PM

newspapers about design, art and architecture.

At lunch I eat very little—maybe a plate of ham

Sometimes we go out to hear music. I love to

and some fruit. The pause is very brief. When I

listen to the Opera at La Scala in Milan (Verdi

travel I often have lunch or dinners with friends.

and Rossini). For the contemporary music

I always like to try the local cuisine.

I really like Bruce Springsteen and Justin

I like to touch the paper, I do not use tablets.

Timberlake. I often go to concerts with my wife

4:00 PM

and my children, like Madonna, Lady Gaga, etc., ... I am interested in concerts not only to hear the music, but to observe the

I return to Milan in the afternoon for appoint-

choreography, videos and special effects.

ments. When I’m in the city I love to walk, rather than drive, and when I’m on vacation I almost exclusively ride a bicycle to get places.

2:30 PM

11:00 PM Normally when I am at home I go to bed quite early, around 11 PM. Before going to sleep, I drink a glass of water.

BONG, Cappellini

In the afternoon I like to drink a cup of coffee and eat a piece of dark chocolate, which I love.

While traveling my habits remain the same.

But I have little time to relax. I relax especially

Although often I do the same things each

during the weekend, going for walks or skiing in

day, it is not true that every day is like another.

the winter.

There is always something new and exciting to discover, and new people and things to know. The important thing for me is to keep a good spiritual relationship with myself and not become a machine!



j a s p e r




Products featured (clockwise from top left): GLASS FAMILY, produced by Alessi; WALL CLOCK, produced by Muji; THE COUNTRY TRAINER, produced by Camper; DP01 TELEPHONE, produced by Punkt; KNIFE FORK SPOON, produced by Alessi; TRASH, produced by Magis.


W H AT ’ S O N


1. Jacob ter Veldhuis


2. Lemon Jelly


3. Chords


4. Johann Sebastian Bach OPERA

5. Richard Wagner OPERA


Photo by Erwin Olaf 26

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canning a list of Cassina designers and

The development of foam in the early 1960s,

architects, it wouldn’t be surprising for

for instance, “allowed for an explosion of new

a design student to assume the names

shapes and designs for furniture,” Armento

represent a brief history of modern design,

says. The new material also planted a seed in

stretching from the pioneering work of Gio

the minds of the Cassina family and Gio Ponti

Ponti to the conceptually innovative designs of

for a collaboration with the great architect Le

Philippe Starck.

Corbusier. Cassina and Ponti had long admired Le Corbusier’s furniture designs of the 1920s, but

Cassina was founded in 1927 with admirable,

limited material choices at that time meant the

but perhaps modest aspirations: to handcraft

pieces weren’t commercially viable when they

the finest high-end wood furniture. Many similar

were first introduced. (Read more about the Le

furniture workshops were being established in

Corbusier collaboration in the following article.)

the Brianza region of Italy at the time, but the Cassina brothers developed their business with

Today, the Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret and

an important distinction: an eagerness to

Charlotte Perriand by Cassina line is the focus of

identify and collaborate with like-minded,

the Haworth Collection’s Cassina brand. Cassina

talented designers.

continues to hold the licensing agreement for Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret and Charlotte

In the 1950s, Cassina initiated its first

Perriand furniture designs, making it the world’s

collaboration with architect Gio Ponti, who

only manufacturer of these authentic pieces.

became an important figure in the creative direction of the company—a big leap for Italian

“The Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret and

furniture companies of the time, according to

Charlotte Perriand pieces sold by the Haworth

Cassina Brand Director Gianluca Armento.

Collection are authentic as they belong to the Cassina collection. Cassina acquired the rights to

“Cassina became one of the first furniture

produce these pieces in 1964, when Le Corbusier

companies to employ outside architects and

himself was still alive,” says Armento. “Today, the

designers to design pieces for them—before

company works in close collaboration with the

that, everyone was designing their own pieces

official Foundation and heirs.”

in-house,” says Armento. “Cesare Cassina and Gio Ponti were responsible for picking up great

To spot the real thing, Armento says, look for

designers and making design central to what

three signatures on every Le Corbusier, Pierre

Cassina was about. It was during this time, in the

Jeanneret and Charlotte Perriand by Cassina

1950s, that Cassina really began to flourish.”

piece, along with a serial number which corresponds to the item’s identity card. Cassina

Cassina was also open to taking the company’s

has also created a web page so clients can see

historical strengths and progressing with the

what is behind the creation of an original design.

times, experimenting with new materials and


industrial processes. While Cassina holds fast to its Italian design ideals—craftsmanship, quality

“Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret and Charlotte

and beauty—its artisan-style production readily

Perriand’s designs wear well, and even look

blends with the innovative industrial technology

better as they get older,” Armento says.

of the moment.


F O N D AT I O N L E C O R B U S I E R & C A S S I N A a collaboration for the ages


e Corbusier was born in Switzerland in 1887, as Charles Edouard Jeanneret. In 1920 he adopted the pseudonym Le

Corbusier for his architectural persona, derived from his maternal grandfather, Lecorbesier. A pioneer of what is now called modern architecture, Le Corbusier was dedicated to using modern industrial methods and materials to provide better living conditions for the lower class residents of crowded cities. He was always attuned to the proportions of the human body and considered many of his furniture designs “human-limb objects” or “extensions of our limbs.”

On opposite page: Le Corbusier on an extended stay in Vichy, 1941.

This page, left: Mise Au Point, written by Le Corbusier, and published in 1966. Right: Immeuble Molitor, 24 rue Nungesser et Coli, Paris, France, 1931–1934.




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On opposite page, left: Le Corbusier meeting Albert Einstein, 1946. Top: LC4 at Maisons La Roche-Jeanneret, Paris, France, 1923–1925. Bottom: Chapelle Notre Dame du Haut, Ronchamp, France, 1950–1955.

This page, top: Building the Cabanon in Roquebrune Cap Martin, Le Corbusier’s holiday resort, 1950. Bottom: LC1, Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret and Charlotte Perriand by Cassina, 1928.


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s it possible to be classic and contemporary at

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And when it comes to the materials, only

once? Both delicate and sturdy? Utterly Italian,

the finest quality, full-grain leather is even

and yet at home around the world?

considered for the honor of bearing the name ‘ Pelle Frau®,’ which first goes through a

Poltrona Frau is the physical expression of many

21-step tanning process (most companies use

apparent contradictions. Of all the paradoxes,

a 12–15-step process). The result is a leather

the one that perhaps best sums up the company

with tactile warmth and softness that, thanks

is this: crafting Poltrona Frau chairs requires

to the research and high quality of the raw

meticulous skill and labor, yet the end result is

materials, maintains contract-grade durability.

the ultimate invitation to relax. “The thing about Pelle Frau® leather is that it For more than a century, the Italian company

seems so soft and almost delicate, but it’s

has remained true to what it does best—fine

so durable it’s even used in the automotive

craftsmanship and leather upholstered products.

industry (by Ferrari and Maserati),” Archetti

And yet, Poltrona Frau hasn’t been content to

says. “With the Poltrona Frau products, so

get too comfortable in the past. A future-focused

much is invested in them—time, vision, process,

orientation has motivated Poltrona Frau to keep

craftsmanship—and you can tell. These things

integrating new processes, collaborating with

really make a difference.”

prestigious designers and architects and looking for new opportunities around the world.

Today, these longstanding traditions are woven into the more contemporary side of Poltrona

“Poltrona Frau is both classic and contemporary,” says Roberto Archetti, Poltrona Frau Brand

Frau, which is always evolving as the company seeks new partnerships, new designers and new

Director. “It’s about bringing together

materials and production techniques. In the

heritage and innovation, and coming up with

early 1960s, Poltrona Frau began developing

something new.”

a more contemporary approach to its designs, celebrating new shapes. To push their designs

Poltrona Frau’s roots reach back to 1912, when

forward during that time, Poltrona Frau began

Sardinian-born Renzo Frau started the company

seeking partnerships with great designers like

in Turin, Italy. The focus was on producing sofas

Gio Ponti, who designed “Dezza” for them

and armchairs crafted by traditional furniture

in 1965.

artisans and upholstered with the finest leather. The company’s foundational commitment to

As they’ve moved their product line into the

excellence even earned it an appointment as the

future, collaborations and partnerships have

official supplier to Italy’s Royal House in 1926.

continued to be a priority for Poltrona Frau. From

That stubborn attention to quality hasn’t budged

cars in 1998, to the 2003 collaboration with Frank

in 100 years. Poltrona Frau’s workshop still

Gehry, who designed the Poltrona Frau armchairs

the invitation by Ferrari to begin upholstering its

bustles with expert craftspeople—some who

for his Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles,

are second- or third- generation employees of

Poltrona Frau seems to be doing something

the company, using their father’s or grand-

innovative and new at every turn, never losing

father’s tools.

sight of its bright future—or its rich past.


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n a world where great minds are valued

Poltrona Frau, which has been committed to

and admired, Poltrona Frau celebrates a

creating the finest leather seating since 1912,

different kind of intelligence: an intelligence

when the company was started by Renzo Frau in

of the hands.

Turin, Italy.”

Roberto Archetti, Brand Director of Poltrona

Today, more than a century later, some things

Frau for a quarter of a decade, explains what this

have changed at Poltrona Frau, but a remarkable

means in the Poltrona Frau workshops.

number of tools, techniques and materials have remained the same. Archetti says the most

“When artisans use their hands they transfer their intelligence in what they are doing,” Archetti

common response from visitors touring the workshop is amazement.

says. “In other words, they are able to transfer the culture and the values of Poltrona Frau in every single product they make. This is what we

“All clients, editors, designers and architects who visit the factory are literally fascinated by the way

call the ‘intelligence of the hands,’ and the result

we do our products, and by understanding what

is extraordinary.”

is inside our products,” he says. “Spending a day observing in the workshop is a sort of rush

So extraordinary that what might otherwise

course to perfectly understand the soul and the

be a “nice” leather chair becomes a work of

identity of Poltrona Frau, which is in every one of

art—one that grows in beauty as it ages, and

our chairs.”

almost seems to have a soul. “At the very least,” Archetti says, “each chair carries the soul of


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The company’s leather, Pelle Frau®, is the key

It’s this unique leather tanning process that

element tying the craftsperson to the chair, and

ultimately results in a chair that can be passed

the chair to the person who ultimately owns and

down for generations, just as the skills of

sits in it.

Poltrona Frau craftspeople have been passed down for generations.

“Pelle Frau® leather is a trademark, meaning that the tannery process goes through additional

“Our craftsmen are properly trained by their

steps, if compared with the leather generally

elder colleagues, who have more experience

used in the furniture sector,” Archetti says.

and who can pass their skills to them,” Archetti says. “  The young generations learn the process

“The whole tanning process is developed in the

within the factory and they improve their skills,

Poltrona Frau internal laboratory, along with the

every single day, by doing their job under the

tanneries we work with. This method guarantees

eye of a supervisor.”

strict control of the quality. We also use only full grain leather, the most superficial layer of the

At the end of the day, this sense of tradition

dermis that has exceptional performances

is at the heart of what Archetti loves about his

and features.”

job —“Thinking that I am contributing to carry on Italian excellence worldwide.”




h a w o r t h


c o l l e c t i o n


t h i n k i n g

a w a y

f r o m

t h e

p r e s e n t


i n t o

t h e

f u t u r e

he Haworth Design Studio team devotes a

The development of Haworth’s social science

And when it comes to working together, the

lot of time to the work one would expect,

research arm Ideation, in 1995, has played an

relationship between the Design Studio and the

important role in the Design Studio’s approach

Haworth Collection is also important. Each group

they also rely on something that seems almost

to design. Ideation shares its findings with the

benefits from the other.

contradictory to the act of making: Whitespace.

in-house designers, who then apply the research

like drawing, designing and creating. But

to their work. Studio calls time that’s devoted to setting aside

For the Studio, just knowing the Collection is there inspires them to explore and innovate.

“Whitespace” is what the Haworth Design “In the mid-90s, we were the only ones in the

pressing, practical matters so creativity and

industry who put scientists with designers,”

innovation can flourish.

Reuschel says. “That was significant.”

“Designing for the Haworth Collection is an opportunity to take some greater artistic risks— to do something more iconic, with a historical

“It’s about thinking away from the present into the future, on products that might be three or five

Design Studio projects are initiated in a variety

reference point, and to explore more with

of ways. In some cases, Haworth’s Product

materials and forms,” Reuschel says.

years out,” says Nicolai Czumaj-Bront, a Studio

Marketing group brings specific product needs

designer. “Designers have to be comfortable

to Studio designers; other times, designers

And the Collection benefits from having a new

with the unknown. They have to be comfortable

are developing their own ideas about what the

generation of in-house designers who are in-tune

exploring, and not always knowing the answer

market needs.

with the Collection’s vision for the future. The Studio also helps find outside designers who fit

right away. That’s what Whitespace is about.” “To be innovative, part of what we need to do is That same spirit of exploration was at the heart

say, ‘Let’s forget what the industry is telling us

of Haworth’s decision to form an official design

we should make. What do WE think we should

department in 1982—long before Whitespace

make?’” Reuschel says.

was conceived. Jeff Reuschel, now Global Design

the Collection’s design ideals. “There are a lot of big names in the Collection, but it’s also very open to designers you haven’t heard of yet, but we expect you will,” Reuschel

Director of the Haworth Design Studio, was

As part of the Haworth Design Studio team,

says. “Part of the Design Studio’s role is finding

one of the first three industrial designers in the

Czumaj-Bront does a bit of everything, from

those designers. It’s all about moving Haworth

brand-new department; today, the Design Studio

collaborating on specific “assignments” to

forward in important ways.”

has nine designers based in North America,

working solo on his own ideas. Most designers

working with other designers, engineers and

in the Studio have certain areas of expertise and

scientists around the world.

responsibility, but hard and fast lines are avoided. The freedom to move around, collaborate and

Reuschel says the department was formed to

experiment is critical to maintaining the creative,

leverage the benefits of using both inside and

innovative spirit of the Studio.

outside designers. The combined approach is key, because each group brings important strengths to the table.

“Having that kind of freedom and flexibility is a very important part of my design process,” says Czumaj-Bront. “I like to be working on more than

“Outside designers have the advantage of broad access to information, like processes

one thing at a time, and to be collaborating with


different people.”

Nicolai Czumaj-Bront, Liz Johnson, Steffen Lipsky,

and ways of thinking in unrelated fields, which can lead to fresh ideas,” Reuschel says. “Internal

Ralph Reddig, Jeff Reuschel, Iain Thorp, Bob Wayner,

“One thing we hope to have in the Studio is

Michael Welsh, and Dan West

designers understand their subject and the

diverse points of view—a diverse approach to

specific workplace environments we’re designing

problem solving,” Reuschel adds. “There also

Designers featured on opposite page

for really well. When inspiration strikes, we’re

needs to be a diverse approach to the level of

(clockwise from top):

ready to apply it directly to a workplace product,

abstraction and attention to detail. You obviously

Bob Wayner, Liz Johnson, Stanley Felderman and

because that’s the realm we’re always

need both, but it’s rare to find a designer with

Nancy Keatinge, Jeff Reuschel, Chris Adamick

thinking in.”

all those strengths. That’s why it’s important to create a team who can work together.”



n i c o l a i

c z u m a j


b r o n t


h a w o r t h

c o l l e c t i o n






n i c o l a i


ruth be told, Nicolai Czumaj-Bront spent

c z u m a j


b r o n t


h a w o r t h

c o l l e c t i o n

Today, he is a designer in the Haworth

design. There are also the stories and lives of

a few years trying to avoid this fate, even

Design Studio, an in-house incubator of fresh,

the people who will be using the products. As a

though it was in his blood, thanks to his

innovative design ideas. The designers work

designer you can imagine them and put yourself

graphic designer mother and engineer father.

closely with the Haworth Collection to develop

in their place in a way that’s very human. It’s

Even his grandfather was a master model maker

new directions and designs to join the iconic

the intent that gives you the result. If you start

and carpenter, while his other grandfather hand-

pieces Czumaj-Bront studied and admired long

with people and their stories, you’ll get a more

crafted furniture as a hobby.

before joining Haworth.

human result.”

“Design is in my blood, but I reached a point

“It’s pretty amazing to have my designs in a

N-CB Resonate, the design that garnered a

when I got kind of tired of it,” he says. As an

Collection with many of the great furniture

NeoCon Gold in 2008, is an example of the

undergrad, Czumaj-Bront chose to study

designers I studied in school,” he says.

philosophy and psychology, but ultimately, his interest in human behavior only sealed his fate.

When it comes to what inspires and drives Czumaj-Bront’s own work, he says his approach

“I had all these ideas, but no good way to express

to people and stories is key.

them. I needed a tactile output, a way to turn an idea into an object. I decided I wanted to work with my hands.” Czumaj-Bront entered the Industrial Design

simplicity, timelessness and sense of story embedded in Czumaj-Bront’s work. “The idea for Resonate came when I was traveling a lot between the flat plains of Illinois, where I was in school, to the hills of Ohio, to see

“There’s this idea of designers wearing all black

family,” he says. “Then the two-tone look came

and being aloof and exclusive, but good design

from a photo taken in my parents’ backyard, of

is a very inclusive thing. It’s all about your

a tree with snow just on half of it. It gives the

surroundings, about the people around you, the

piece its dimensionality, through positive and

program at the University of Illinois at

stories you hear. You have to be in tune with all

negative shapes. It’s a piece rooted in place


of that, and able to bring all the facets together

and memories.”

to be a good designer.” “It was a serendipitous thing,” he says. “Industrial

Czumaj-Bront also likes playing with materials

engineering balances art, design and engineer-

Simplicity is another characteristic that runs

ing —it combines them all. Once you begin

through Czumaj-Bront’s work, but that doesn’t

imperfections speak to him, reflecting a

down that path it becomes your lifestyle, the way

mean N-CB designs embody a “signature look.”

different aspect of what it means to be human

you see the world—how you listen to people and watch them, and how you interpret and

and letting them guide his designs. Even

in this world—and, perhaps, what it means to “When I was younger I tried to define a style.

be a designer in the Haworth Design Studio:

reinterpret what you see.”

Then I realized my design solutions were

celebrating freedom in discovery and beauty in

hindered by the idea of a defined style,” he

an imperfect world.

More than a decade after graduating with a

says. “  I didn’t want to be limited. If there’s any

BA in Industrial Design, it’s clear that Czumaj-

unifying factor in my designs, it would be that

Bront, now 35, was right to follow serendipity’s

there’s always a story behind my ideas.”

lead. In 2005, he joined Haworth, after being

“I’m really interested in the idea of ‘perfect’ and ‘imperfect,’ and how, as designers, we can’t have complete control over the process,”

recruited by Design Manager Iain Thorp. Then,

There are different ways to think about the role

Czumaj-Bront says. “Sometimes you can let the

in 2007, Czumaj-Bront won Design Within

of story in design, Czumaj-Bront says.

imperfections be the beauty of the piece,

Reach’s  “Chicago Furniture Now” competition, and in 2008, he received a NeoCon Gold Award for N-CB Resonate storage.

rather than over-designing everything. There’s “One way is to think about your experiences, and how they impact and inspire you as you

a lot of freedom in that—part of being a designer is knowing when to step back and set something free.”



With its lighter-than-air design, revolutionary materials and innovative functionality, the Plia folding chair earned itself a place in the MoMA’s permanent collection. Now, more than 40 years after its creation, the world still loves Plia—and so does the chair’s designer, as we learned through a recent interview with Giancarlo Piretti.


p l i a

HC: What inspires your designs?

HC: How do you feel about the many chair designs that have been inspired by Plia?

GP: The simplicity, the aesthetic impact, the surprise … I don’t know exactly when my ideas

GP: I’m pleased about the chair designs

tend to arrive. Sometimes it’s just an intuition—

inspired by Plia. Also, I understand that the task

when I walk, at the cinema, when reading, at

of designing a new folding chair, including my

a golf course. Perhaps when I visit a museum,

attempts, must take into account the existence


because beautiful objects or pieces of art

of Plia. Even if there have been new and elegant

generate other good objects.

solutions since Plia, I believe that after Plia it’s


a little more complicated designing a folding HC: Do you remember when you first

chair without recalling the influence of Plia.

envisioned the Plia chair?

Each designer manages this “influence stress” in different ways: some try to follow design

GP: Yes, I do remember that I had the “vision” of

solutions the most possible far from the existing

a folding chair, simple, essential, without traverse

ones; others prefer to re-edit the archetypes

beams, without sliding loops … in other words,

more clearly, such as, for example, the Plana

impossible to design! What ended up being the

chair by Alessi.

design of Plia was rather close to the impossible, but still far from the image of the chair I had in

HC: Was the design of Plia a turning point in

my mind. It was more clean than the final design,

your career? How did designing Plia impact

due to several compromises I had to face with

your subsequent designs?

the materials, manufacturing processes, etc. GP: I was very young when I designed Plia, HC: What made Plia revolutionary when it was

and those years represent the most happy and

first designed in 1967?

fertile period of the Italian design. Being a chair designed for emergency situations, Plia is meant

GP: First of all its transparency, which made Plia

to be used for short periods of time; in fact I

look almost “non-existent.” At the time when

favored the aesthetic aspect of the object over

it was introduced, transparent plastic materials

the user’s comfort. Throughout my career since

with certain strength features did not exist. The

then, I have tried to design easy objects, putting

“Cellidor” material, created on purpose for the

the chair comfort first through flexible backrests

chair, was a revolution, as was the peculiar alloy

or tilting mechanisms, but I’ve not always been

for the legs joints. What was and still is surprising

able to equal the simplicity of Plia.

about the chair is its lightness and visual fragility, while its construction makes it a product strong

HC: Designers and artists often grow tired of

enough for its function.

their older work. How do you feel about Plia when you see it today?

HC: What three words do you think best describe Plia’s design?

GP: I believe that Plia is difficult to be dated and catalogued as a product of a fleeting fashion, of

GP: Surprising—from slim transparency to

a passing trend or linked to a temporary cultural

unfolded duty, light and minimal. Enjoyable—

instance. Along with its remarkable sales success,

typically used as an “emergency” chair to

the recognition that a product lasts for decades

accommodate guests and friends when they

is the best tribute that a designer could receive,

come to your office or home. Versatile—folding,

and I am glad that, after so much time, Plia

stacking and nesting, making it easy to use

continues to be celebrated, and that “my old

and store.

baby” continues to give me satisfaction.

HC: What design traits have made Plia a timeless classic? Giancarlo Piretti’s designs have been influential in


GP: I believe mainly its essential and gentle

framing the way the world thinks about “Italian design.”

shape. Graphically, Plia is pleasing in all its

Born in Bologna in 1940, Piretti studied at the Instituto

three positions: folded, unfolded and half-

Statale d’ Arte before working as an interior designer for

way folded. Plia’s architectural simplicity and

Anonima Castelli. During his 12 years with Castelli, Piretti

formal essentiality meet, creating an object that

developed many breakthrough seating designs, including

nowadays it’s in fashion to define as “iconic.”

Plia, in 1967.

Chairs from the Plia Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti, Milano (NABA) Futurarium project, a competition where students were invited to redesign the Plia chair.


t h e


g r e a t

d e s i g n

(in any form it takes)

Michael O’Neal is a San Francisco photographer and art director, who polished his craft while working at Apple. Chicago-based Rick Valicenti has earned the graphic design industry’s highest honors for his work at his firm, Thirst. Pamella Roland is a New York fashion designer with West Michigan roots, whose gowns often grace red carpets. And Mike Simonian collaborates with Maaike Evers, bringing together two distinct cultures and perspectives, to create a diverse body of product designs full of heart and soul. So what do these four have in common? In some sense, not much, other than vocational identities tied to design. But in other ways, the lines that run between their disciplines aren’t as clear as people often think. All four approach their work in similar ways, find inspiration in other art and design disciplines and look to the future with the same sense of openness and hope. We’re excited to share their perspectives and work with you here. May you be inspired by them, as we have been.

Photo by Michael O’Neal 51

MICHAEL O’NEAL Michael O’Neal studied graphic design at

direction and photography for a range

the Fashion Institute of Technology, but in

of clients. “  I’m a people guy. I love to disarm

many ways his true classroom was New York

the subject and get the shot between the

City, which offered more sights, sounds,

shots,” says O’Neal. “I’m going for something

interactions and people-watching than he

warm, approachable and human. Storytelling

could possibly absorb.

is something I want to focus on. I’m after substance and narrative, not just

“I love to go on hikes and adventures, catching

pretty pictures.”

the sunrise, exploring the unexpected parts of a city,” O’Neal says. “That sense of adventure

While everyday people and their stories inspire

and discovery inspires me.”

O’Neal, he also looks to the art and design of

WHO • Independent photographer and art director • WHAT • Clean, colorful lifestyle photography and portraiture •

WHERE • San Francisco • WHAT ELSE •

An Instagram legend, with over 500,000 followers (@moneal) • WEB •

others for ideas and direction. In 2003, O’Neal moved to California for what he calls “probably the best job in the world, in

new techniques—to do something that looks

around the world, and was spending so much

different, that breaks through the clutter. I’m

time with great photographers,” O’Neal says.

constantly trying to innovate in a way that can

“  I loved the lifestyle, and got excited about the

be timeless, clean, pure and simple, yet new

idea of trying photography myself.”

and fresh. Steve Jobs was a master of that.”

He began developing his own photographic style and then, about a year and a half ago, worked up the courage to leave his job at Apple and go out on his own. Today, he blends art 52

“It’s important to keep pushing myself and trying

Apple’s in-house design group. “I was traveling

PAMELLA DEVOS The designs of Pamella Roland are clearly

The paintings of Elsworth Kelly inspired her

all about glamour, luxury and elegance, but

spring collection, with its bold statements in

founder and designer Pamella DeVos says the

graphic black and white, and Philip Johnson’s

collections are designed for real women, of all

architecture—particularly the landmark Glass

body types.

House in Connecticut—inspired Pamella Roland’s Resort 2014 collection.

This idea that women can be strong and successful while also being feminine and glamorous is one of the passions that led DeVos

WHO • President and designer of

“The fabrics I’ll be using for the collection will be cut into sleek silhouettes, with embellishments

to launch Pamella Roland in 2002. Just a year

that resemble the sparkle and modernism of

later, she earned the prestigious Gold

glass and steel.”

Coast Award.

Pamella Roland • WHAT • High-end clothes

While fashion often leads the way in terms of

that allow women to comfortably exude

In the decade since then, DeVos’ many passions

their strength and beauty, while projecting

have continued to serve her well in the fashion

says she doesn’t think in terms of what the next

innate elegance • WHERE • New York City

industry. “I really love travel and art—they

trend will be.


ELSE • Serves on many boards in

inspire me,” DeVos says. “My St. Petersburg Fall

art and design, including the Whitney

2013 collection was inspired by a trip to Russia,

Museum of American Art and the Grand

and all the rich, intricate art and architecture we

Rapids Art Museum, in her hometown

saw there.”

• WEB •

color and trends in other areas of design, DeVos

“We’re high-end design, so we don’t look for trends,” DeVos says. “I study fashion, wear it, read about it, and look at it everywhere I go—I do a lot of research, but in the end I just go with what I love.”


RICK VALICENTI “The world needs designers desperately.” Rick

design being a virtual hug or handshake, with a

Valicenti’s passion for his vocation is impossible

message being carried and conveyed in a way

to miss, and it probably has a lot to do with the

that engages the audience.”

success of Thirst, the communication design firm he founded and leads.

Valicenti is driven and inspired by change and

Thirst is all about “making a difference in the

next generation of designers he mentors.

whatever’s next—from new technologies to the world” by leveraging those skills Valicenti says the world needs: “… the ability to connect

“There are such fabulous technologies out there,

disparate dots, to put something together that

and so much big data coming at us that needs

others can’t.”

interpretation. We can’t help but be innovative,”

design firm • WHAT • Graphic communication

Valicenti’s background is in fine art—painting,

getting raised higher and faster. You can either

design with intelligence, fashion, and real

drawing and photography. He became “a

check out or say, ‘This is so fun, to see design so

human presence • WHERE • Chicago

typeface geek” upon taking a letterpress class

alive with open-source thinking and creativity.”

at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop; the newfound

Valicenti clearly falls in the latter camp. But even

Design Award: Communication Design by

love eventually led him into the field of

as he embraces the many changing aspects of

The Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum

communication design.

the field, he also holds firm to the constants.

WHO • Founder of Thirst, a communication

WHAT ELSE • Was awarded the 2011 National

• WEB •

Valicenti says. “The bar (in design) keeps “Typography is the carrier of messages,” Valicenti says. “Real human presence is about


“No matter what kind of design you do, it’s not about the software or platform you’re on,

making the work feel like it’s part of the

it’s about being fully engaged in the act of

conversation, not just a thing. I’m interested in

considered decision making.”

MIKE SIMONIAN The portfolio of Mike & Maaike is vast and

In the midst of so much variety, every project

varied, but Mike Simonian, co-founder of

begins essentially the same way: with a

the industrial design studio, says there is a

conceptual foundation. It could be a question

consistent theme from one design to the next:

to explore, a point of view or a hypothesis.

new opportunities. In the case of Windowseat, the new Haworth “We try to create new opportunities through design for everyone involved,” Simonian

WHO • Co-founder of Mike & Maaike,

Collection seating concept introduced at NeoCon 2013, the question Mike & Maaike

says. “Design is about possibilities. For the

started with was, “  Where does architecture end

user, it’s a new experience, feeling, ability

and furniture begin?”

or point of view. For the producer, there are

a progressive industrial design studio

new opportunities to connect with people, to

Erasing lines between various forms of art and

• WHAT •

express an idea, to evolve a category. For us,

design is an intentional, philosophical approach

designing products, technology, furniture,

it’s new territory, inspirations, connections,

that informs Simonian and Evers as they create

environments, packaging and transportation

relationships and knowledge.”

new products.

A laboratory approach to

• WHERE • San

Francisco • WHAT ELSE •

Recently collaborated with Google, Belkin,

Their work is always fresh, driven by the diverse

Xbox, Incase, Dupont and the City of

range of clients, industries, materials and

“All facets of design need to be connected, like art, fashion, graphic, auto and furniture,”

San Francisco • WEB •

approaches they work with. “We love diversity,”

Simonian says. “And all of these areas should be

he says. “We try to do projects in as many

connected with technology, politics, philosophy

different areas as we can—disparate projects

and writing, too. Design needs this rich soup to

influence and inspire each other.”

have meaning and relevance.”


PENELOPE, Haworth Collection 56

For many decades, designers around the world have been inspired by the work and vision of Charles Pollock. We at Haworth have long admired his work, so we were thrilled when Pollock became a member of the Haworth Collection family of designers and deeply saddened to receive news of his August 2013 death. Groundbreaking design and innovative materials made Pollock’s Penelope chair, which is still in production as part of the Haworth Collection, an instant classic. Penelope perfectly embodies the timeless elegance, innovation and emotional pull that’s at the heart of the Collection and the world’s most inspiring designs. Born in Philadelphia in 1930, Pollock studied at Cass Technical College in Detroit before winning a stipend to attend Pratt Institute of Design, which helped him secure a place working with George Nelson after college. Pratt Institute’s 1991 tribute honored Pollock with its Excellence by Design Award. 57


h a w o r t h c o l l e c t i o n


c o m

Icon Magazine 2014  
Icon Magazine 2014  

Icon is published by Haworth. Inspiring design and refined craftsmanship come together in the Haworth Collection, an ever-growing lineup of...