Have you ever wondered what a grand Neo-Baroque-style armchair produced entirely in lilac plastic would look like? Wonder no more, because Italian furniture maker Magis has produced just that. Magis has been manufacturing Italian architect Alessandro Mendini's Proust armchairs since 2011. The latest version of the chair was designed exclusively for the second edition of, "D’Annunzio e i Giardini di Pan 2015," an international design event that Magis is hosting this year. It is taking place in the former residence of Italian poet Gabriele d’Annunzio at the Vittoriale degli Italiani in Gardone Riviera, in Italy, from May 10 through Oct. 31, 2015.
Mendini designed the original Proust armchair in 1978 by covering the surface of a Neo-Baroque-style chair in hand-painted colorful pixels to transform the object into a work of art. The result was a chair that looked as if it had been plucked right out of a Pointillist painting. In fact, Mendini has commented that the project was inspired by a painting by the 19th-century French artist Paul Signac. Since its creation, the chair has been reproduced by Mendini himself in other mediums including bronze and ceramic.
When Magis began mass-producing Proust in 2011, it added another medium to the list. Using a technique called rotational molding with polyethylene, the manufacturer was able to create a 55.11-inch-wide by 59-inch-tall Proust armchair that is both vivid in color and suitable for outdoor use. Rotational molding is a fabrication technique in which liquid or powder resin is inserted into a hollow mold, heated, and rotated to coat the mold's interior. This process makes producing complex shapes easier because of how the resin, once heated, adapts to the form.
The latest incarnation of the chair—the one on display at d’Annunzio's residence—was created in the poet's honor. Its vivid lilac color references the colorway, "violato," named by the poet himself to identify the cross between pink and purple hues. The chair in this color was created solely for the design event, so it's not available for purchase. However, Magis currently makes Proust in bold red, blue, white, black and orange, as well as a multicolor option.
According to Mendini, the first-ever Proust armchair is now held by Guido Antonello, a collector of 20th-century fine art, in Milan.