Three years ago in Milan the Berlin based designer Werner Aisslinger surprised the design world by exhibiting the world’s first series of gel-furniture called „soft-cell“. The soft-cell chairs, which in the meantime made it into countless exhibitions and into the Vitra Design Museum’s collection, were the starting point of a rapid technological evolution of this translucent elastic material.
The latest development with this fascinating material Werner Aisslinger has realized with Cappellini, Italy’s most innovative design company.
As with the leaves of a tree the organic lattice structure shows through the translucent surface of the chairs, and depending on the light situation their colour and appearance change. The gel-surface is mat and coated with a texture resembling human skin.
The Cappellini Gel-Collection fascinated the design experts and is regarded as a quantum leap in material evolution in design – to quote Philipp Starck: „here it became clear that there is no need for designing but simply for experimenting with a balanced minimum of nodesign which is only concerned with the material itself.“
|But this is not the first milestone for Werner Aisslinger with Capellini: their 1996 „juli-chair“ which was developed in cooperation with the automobile supply industry was the very first soft synthetic shell chair, and in 1998 became part of the permanent collection of the Modern Museum of Art in New York – the first German chair design since 1964.
Amongst the earliest design fans of the translucent high-tech chairs was Brad Pitt, who ordered thirty gel-chairs from Cappellini in specially customized hues for his beach house in Santa Barbara.
The chairs and lounge-chairs of Capellini’s gel-chair collection consist of a linear chromium-plated metal subframe, on which are mounted two boards of a technoGel-sandwich. This sandwich is made from a gel-coated weight-bearing nylon-lattice – an elastic translucent minimal structure with surprising seating comfort.