Famous architects are equally known for their buildings as they are for their chairs. A famous design chair can often contain architectural manifestos in miniature, loaded with aesthetic and social arguments on how to live and make.
The celebrated American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, for one, certainly designed as many pieces of furniture as buildings, often specified to the space to maintain an aesthetic harmony between the interior and exterior–an exacting, if not obsessive, dedication to his design craft. For the living room of his own Taliesen West home, workshop, and school in Arizona (now home to the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and School of Architecture), he designed and used this stately, sculptural armchair with his workshop in 1949, and used it until his death, at age 91, in 1959.
Made from a single piece of folded plywood, the stark angles of the Taliesen chair give it a faceted, futuristic form, and its spare construction makes complex use of simple, straight lines that minimize offcut waste. In its time, the workshop’s wood-pressing technology was also a highly advanced method of fabrication. Never put into serial production until 1986, and even then, only briefly until 1991, by the Italian furniture house Cassina, the Taliesen armchair has been brought back into production in a limited edition of 450 chairs.
A heritage brand in name and ethos, Cassina has reissued a number of additional archival works this past year: The tubular-steel frame Beugel chair by Gerrit Rietveld, a wood-and-saddle leather 905 chair by Vico Magistretti, and a suite of dorm furniture by Charlotte Perriand–modeled and reproduced after a room from Le Corbusier’s 1959 Maison du Bresil–are among the other certified releases. As for the Taliesen, the handsome perch and tangible slice of history will put a $5,500 dent in your wallet.