Artist Felipe Pantone makes a mark with Poltrona Frau • Hotel Designs
Celebrating in true design style, historic design brand Poltrona Frau has chosen to partner with a contemporary mark-making artist on an exclusive limited edition collaboration. Argentine-Spanish artist Felipe Pantone has completely reinvented the Archibald armchair, one of the brand’s most iconic models, in the style of his boundary-pushing art.
“An important purpose of this anniversary collaboration is to shift Poltrona Frau’s perspective towards the future,” said Nicola Coropulis, CEO Poltrona Frau. “Not only in terms of our first collaboration with an international artist of this nature — but also on the theme of environmental protection. The armchair is made with the innovative Impact Less leather that we have developed to further reduce the toll on the environment. We have created a leather that, in addition to prioritizing sustainability, which has always distinguished Pelle Frau, is now even more respectful of the planet in a unique limited edition armchair.”
Felipe Pantone, known for his frescoes, murals, paintings, and sculptures that blend an ‘analog past and a digitized future’, is the rare artist that can unify these two seemingly opposing forces, a sensibility that he has applied to a totally reinvented Archibald. The Archibald’s enigmatic form, first designed in 2009 by Jean-Marie Massaud, and Pantone’s hyper-modern artistic style, meet to create a radically new design object that marks a new chapter for the heritage brand.
“I had the opportunity to visit the Poltrona Frau Headquarters to see the Museum, the entire collection, and learn about the Brand’s history which is extensive and very impressive,” said Pantone discussing the collaboration. “We ended up choosing Archibald as the base for my work because of its minimal frame, but also the unique characteristics like the arms of the chair and the details on the backrest. The idea was to use a very minimal and iconic design and to juxtapose it against my graphics, which are very loud and very dynamic.”
Using Poltrona Frau’s ColorSphere as inspiration, Pantone created a mesmerizing pattern that vibrates across Archibald’s leather surface, a gradient grid of reds, oranges, yellows, whites and blues resembling the cool and warm temperatures of a heat map. The base and slender metal legs of the chair are finished with Multicolor Natural Chrome, leaving a purplish-blue iridescent finish that shimmers under the light. The gradient pattern is printed directly onto the leather using the same type of production usually reserved for small luxury leather goods. This pioneering printed leather technique was developed thanks to Poltrona Frau’s traditional in-depth artisan leather-working knowledge that has kept the brand an industry leader for over a century.
The project makes use of Poltrona Frau’s new Impact Less leather, a result of the brand’s ongoing commitment to maximizing sustainability. Impact Less leather is chrome-free, uses less and cleaner water and further reduces the consumption of chemical components of Poltrona Frau’s already sustainable leather, itself a product of the circular economy.
“As they say, opposites attract,” said Leonardo Allasia, Poltrona Frau Global Marketing & Communications Director. “Collaborating with Felipe, whose philosophy of expression through colour as the essence of light, with light being the essence of life, allowed us to explore a theme that strongly resonates with our brand narrative. This project allows us to push the boundaries of how we communicate to an audience that appreciates truly unique, durable pieces that can be cherished as both a masterpiece of artistic expression and Italian craftsmanship as well as a functional solution for comfortable living meant to last generations.”
As a nod to Poltrona Frau’s 110th anniversary this year, only 110 pieces of Archibald Limited Edition will be made and available for purchase through e-commerce channels, flagship stores and select dealers worldwide following its digital launch in April. Each armchair will come with a custom-made clutch made of Pelle Frau Impact Less leather, a signed certificate of authenticity as well as a dedicated Pelle Frau leather cleaning kit. In addition, a hand-made miniature scale model of the armchair in leather will be available for purchase to give fans and followers of both Felipe Pantone and Poltrona Frau an opportunity to own a product of this special collaboration.
The Limited Edition armchair and the project can be explored online in April and during Milan’s 2022 Salone del Mobile design week June 7th-12th at Poltrona Frau’s via Manzoni flagship showroom where there will be a physical installation to showcase the brand’s entire 2022 True Evolution Collection, and a dedicated digital installation that will feature the work of Felipe Pantone. The Poltrona Frau Museum in Tolentino will also feature a dedicated display of the armchair coupled with a ‘larger-than-life’ murals created by the artist in celebration of the anniversary.
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Main image credit: Poltrona Frau