STORIES OF DESIGN

Cini Boeri

"Things that are necessary but do not yet exist"


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Boasting an excellent pedigree, thanks to her early training with some of the great masters – Gio Ponti first and foremost, and then Marco Zanuso, Cini Boeri asserted her concept of design right from the outset: “the design objects themselves should express their purpose, being both useful and necessary”.

Her pieces – from first to last – and her architectural works – private residences, exhibition installations, offices and shops – have always been driven by functionality, utility and space. 

Cini Boeri designs the things other people have not thought of, or rather “things that are necessary but do not yet exist”, such as the “Serpentone” sofa (Arflex, 1971), basically a sofa sold by the metre, and the “Strips” seating system (Arflex, 1972; Golden Compass Award 1979): beds, armchairs and sofas made of expanding polyurethane foam, totally devoid of any rigid frame and with a removable zipped cover.

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She sees design over the next 10-15 years as “focusing on the elements useful to daily life, exploiting the new opportunities thrown up by technology”.

“Design – she adds – is not simply what a designer has achieved, it also requires entrepreneurial foresight and thirst for innovation, it’s hard to create design if those two factors are missing. Nevertheless I always try to come up with something new, even when not working on commissions.” Her “Ghost” chair (Fiam, 1987) was strikingly new: a design challenge, a vision made real: the seat, arms, backrest and feet are made from a single sheet of glass. 

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What makes a good designer? You must “refrain from designing things that are useless or outlandish and consider the need for and utility of your own work”.