The Bouroullecs debut their glass collection at Milan
The French design duo’s Diapositive furniture collection for Glas Italia picks up where Shiro Kuramata left off
Glass furniture is not as difficult to make today as when the Japanese designer Shiro Kuramata first produced his Glass Chair, back in the 1970s. Then, Kuramata couldn’t be sure that his early prototypes, which were glued together, wouldn’t collapse while the sitter was still seated on them.
Today, Glas Italia, a firm that still produces some of Kuramata’s earliest designs, has found new ways to join panes together. This collection, Diapositive, by France’s Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, uses thermo welding to form the pieces, which the designers say “consists of an assembly system of simple glass panels in which the edges are protected with pieces of wood, which distract from the impression of fragility.”
There’s also a simple felt lining to cushion the seats, and a wooden desktop on one piece too. While the Bouroullecs aren’t faced with the same technical challenges as Kuramata, they are trying to solve dilemmas. As they explained at last year’s Clerkenwell Design Week, with the disappearance of filing cabinets and office drawers, our work places are no longer as easily divided, and furniture designers need to find new ways to carve up the work space.
The Diapositive range takes its name from a term for photographic slide film, which produces ‘positive’ images that can be viewed and projected immediately after development, as opposed to negative film, which needs to be printed in order for the picture to be seen properly.
Perhaps the name makes reference to the colours in the range; the pieces are made up of orange, pink, clear and two shades of grey glass. Yet it’s also a great title for see-through furniture that plays with pigment and light, cutting the room up without obscuring it. Visitors to Milan’s Salone Internazionale del Mobile fair, which takes place 8 – 13 April, can see the range at Glas Italia’s stand in hall 16.
For more on this, go here, and for greater insight into the designers' other works, take a look at our Bouroullec brothers book Works. Meanwhile, for greater understanding of an earlier glass pioneer, consider our Shiro Kuramata monograph.