Thanks to Matteo Thun, This Chair Knows How to Be Free

The designer’s Lisboa chair aims to convey the laid-back spirit of furniture found in southern European cafés.

Matteo Thun never wanted to become an architect (his mother was one). He wanted to become a doctor. But following a pivotal invitation from design heavyweight Ettore Sottsass—who, in 1981, summoned Thun, along with Martine Bedin, Aldo Cibic, Michele De Lucchi, and Marco Zanini to his apartment to explore developing a new furniture line—his fate was basically sealed. The men soon cofounded the Memphis Group, whose designs for furniture, fabric, ceramics, glass, and other objects swiftly informed a cultural phenomenon. The experience showed Thun how object-making could be a means of expression, and through that, taught him how to be free. The creations were brash, gaudy, irreverent, and utterly ahead of their time. This aesthetic and sense of freedom still permeates his wide-ranging work today, as apparent in the Lisboa chair he designed for the Italian furniture brand Very Wood. Intended to convey the laid-back spirit of the café chairs found on southern European streets, its oak frame has a hand-woven seat made from nautical rope—which, like the legendary design movement he helped create, comes in a rainbow of colors.

(Photo: Courtesy Very Wood) 

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