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Vitra Miniature Big Easy, Arad: Produced and distributed by Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein/Germany after an original model by One Off Ltd., London. All rights reserved. In 1988 and 1989, Arad’s London »One Off« work shop created an entire series of »Big Easy« armchairs using bent sheet steel welded at the edges.
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Vitra Miniature Big Easy, Arad: Produced and distributed by Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein/Germany after an original model by One Off Ltd., London. With the kind permission of Ron Arad, London. All rights reserved. In 1988 and 1989, Arad’s London »One Off« work shop created an entire series of »Big Easy« armchairs using bent sheet steel welded at the edges. The »Big Easys« were brought out as individual itemsor small limited series; they all had a striking basic form and inflated arms reminiscent of comics – but they differed in terms of the welding and color. In the course of time, the initially oarse, roughly welded »Big Easys« went through changes, first becoming colorful lacquered chairs with smooth surfaces and then elegant versions made of polished stainless steel. Although Ron Arad’s furniture are variants on everyday things, they seem strange and irritate the eye – not only owing to the choice of material.Formally and functionally speaking, they undermine customary assumptions. You feel you have to first learn how to use them. A »Big Easy’s« voluminous steel body of the »Big Easy« resembles a traditional upholstered club armchair but can hardly be associated with a sense of comfortable interiors. Ron Arad considered it an art object that could likewise be functional, but was not intended to be particularly practical. Stainless sheet steel.
The collection of the Vitra Design Museum en miniature: The Miniatures Collection of the Vitra Design Museum covers the most important pieces from the international history of design from 1850 up to the present. The construction, materials and colours of the miniatures correspond precisely to the historical original. Extensive development work was carried out to adapt the manufacturing techniques to the requirements of miniaturization. Because they are so true to the originals, the miniatures are not only collector’s objects for furniture enthusiasts, but also serve as ideal illustrative material for universities and design schools. At present, the collection encompasses 80 models on a 1:6 scale with further pieces being continually added. The models come in their own wooden box and are accompanied by a descriptive brochure with details on the design. Net proceeds from the sale of the miniatures go towards the exhibitions and workshops of Vitra Design Museum.
Miniaturization means concentration: Vitra Design Museum faithfully replicates furniture design classics in miniaturized three-dimensional form. Many of these designs, like the chaise longue by Le Corbusier or the red-blue chair by Gerrit Rietveld, are as widely known today as the most celebrated works of art and are coveted by museums and collectors the world over. These miniatures illustrate at a glance what design means and what role it plays in the industrial production process. The clear and concentrated world of the miniatures yields a fascinating reflection of the stylistic diversity of contemporary design and provides a unique way of accessing the history of furniture design.
The manufacture of the miniatures: Vitra Design Museum has one of the most renowned collections of industrial furniture design – from the infancy of industrial mass production in the mid-19th century through the designs of functionalistic Modernism up to the postmodern furniture objects of the present day. With its many exhibits, the collection provides us with an ideal base for developing new furniture miniatures. Model builders measure the historical original in the museum collection, scale this down to one sixth of the original size and compile technical documentation. Subsequently, materials and manufacturing techniques are tested over a period of several months: the shapes are formed, materials and processes are selected, art historical research on the objects is conducted and then the production sequences are defined.