Graceful Sculpture: The Bertoia chair in film

While often considered secondary to the main plot, furniture in film is more than just a movie prop. It can indicate the state of mind or the aspirations of a character and accentuate or alter the tone of an environment. Especially when it doubles up a graceful sculpture.

Continuing our feature series on Knoll furniture in film (The Barcelona chair in Tron: LegacyBreuer and Meier in 9 1/2 Weeks, The Cesca Chair in Almodovar’s Julieta) our attention now turns to the Bertoia chair collection.

This iconic wire chair series was designed for Knoll by Harry Bertoia in 1950 as a result of an experiment that involved bending metal rods into practical art. ‘If you look at these chairs, they are mainly made of air, like sculpture. Space passes through them,’ said Bertoia. The Diamond Chair is a study in space, form and function and turns an industrial material into a graceful sculpture.

The Bertoia chair group for Knoll
The Bertoia chair group for Knoll

Telling a tale of adultery and art, La Proie Pour L’ombre  (1961) provides a glimpse into the architecture and aesthetics of 1960s Paris. The Cine Tourist alerted us to the fact that Knoll France collaborated on the movie and, unusually, was credited in the titles. Here, we see a Bertoia Diamond Chair taking pride of place, signifying a shift in the design sensibilities of the Parisian public that was, in large part, born from the efforts of Knoll Europe and its director, Yves Vidal.

Bertoia chair in film movies
The Bertoia Diamond chair in La Proie pour l’ombre (1961) c/o The Cine Tourist

Bertoia chairs also make an appearance in Almodovar’s Broken Embraces (2009), The Devil Wears Prada (2006), The Perfect Match (2016) and The Lake House (2006).

broken-embraces-film-set-interiors
Broken Embraces directed by Almodovar. Featuring a Bertoia side chair.
The Devil Wears Prada featuring the Diamond chair designed by Bertoia for Knoll
The Devil Wears Prada featuring the Diamond chair with full cover designed by Bertoia for Knoll
The Lake House. Featuring a plethora of Bertoia side chairs in white (without seat pad)
The Lake House. Featuring a plethora of Bertoia side chairs in white (without seat pad)

 

So where can I find one?

Bertoia Diamond chair

 

bertoia-diamond-chair-covered

The Diamond chair is available with and without seat pad or fully covered. The version shown in La Proie Pour L’ombre has the seat pad and the version in A Devil Wears Prada has a fully upholstered cover which adds softness and texture to the graceful lines. The frame is made from strong welded steel rods in a choice of chrome, white or black finish. It’s strikingly innovative and seemingly fragile filigree construction masks the chair’s strength and durability.

Buy now in the UK from The Conran Shop.
Buy now in the USA from Design Within Reach.

You can also find vintage originals from Etsy and Pamono

Pamono are currently selling this Black Diamond Chair by Harry Bertoia for Knoll, 1950s for £747

Bertoia Diamond Chair for Knoll available from Pamono
Vintage Bertoia Diamond Chair for Knoll available from Pamono
Black Bertoia chair for Knoll available from Pamono
Vintage Black Bertoia chair for Knoll available from Pamono

The Bertoia Side chair

Bertoia side chair
Bertoia side chair

The side chair is similarly available with and without seat pad or fully covered and as with the Diamond chair the frame is available in chrome, white or black finish. Either way it’s sheer sculpture.

Buy now in the UK from The Conran Shop >
Buy now in the USA from Design Within Reach >

You can also find vintage originals from Etsy > and Pamono >

Pamono currently have this handsome pair of vintage black Harry Bertoia wire dining chairs priced at £898 >

Pair of vintage black Harry Bertoia wire dining chairs priced at £898 from Pamono >
Pair of vintage black Harry Bertoia wire dining chairs priced at £898 from Pamono >

We end with a wonderful original advert for Knoll which shows off the Bertoia chair collection as pure art.

diamond_product_story2,0

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