This post is about nature, Italy, design history and upcycle design. Let’s start with nature and Italy. Quite some time ago, more than 25 years, I skied with friends in Italy. It was in the Dolomites, a mountain range located in northeastern Italy. It’s a group of mountains like no other with stunning forms and impressive steep mountain walls. One part of the Dolomites is a plateau-shaped massif called Sella Group. During wintertime and if there’s enough snow, it’s possible to ski around the Sella Group in one day. The ski circuit is called Sellaronda and is almost 40 kilometers long. A one of a kind ski network with all its lift facilities situated in a mesmerizing setting. One moment you’re surrounded by rocks and mountain peaks and the next moment it’s thick forests or rolling landscapes. At the end of March it was quite a challenge to finish the Sellaronda in one day. I must say, it was one of my most memorable days ever in the mountains.
Bicycle parts stool refers to iconic design
What does this story have do with design and upcycle design? Well let me explain. The word Sella is Italian for ‘saddle’. And last week I found upcycle design furniture called ’Sella Chair‘ by South Korean designer Taemin Kim. He used a bicycle saddle, rod, stem and handlebars. The stem is the component on a bicycle that connects the handlebars to the steerer tube of the bicycle fork. The angle of the rod connected to the saddle looks like it’s copied from a bicycle and is created by adjusting the stem.
When I saw the Sella Chair it reminded me of an iconic 20th century design called ‘Sella Stool‘. The design is also made by using using bicycle parts. It’s designed by the Italian brothers Castiglioni, Achille and Pier Giacomo. They created the design in 1957. The stool shows a classic black BROOKS bicycle saddle that functions as the seat. They positioned the saddle on a a pink lacquered steel rod with a cast-iron foot. The design is at the same time bizarre, simple and stylish. The design was a bit too modern for those days. So after almost two and a half decades it was taken into serial production by Italian premium manufacturer Zanotta.
Like regular upcycleDZINE visitors may know by now, upcycle design is around for quite some time. And if you want to see what I mean you just have to look at work from some great designers from the past. If you’re not convinced, have a look at Porca miseria! by Ingo Maurer, TOUR by Gae Aulenti. And the Castiglione brothers also belong to this distinguished group of designers. All these mentioned designs have inspired today’s designers and upcycle designers.
Photos © Taemin Kim
Back to today’s upcycle design. Sella Chair seems so obvious and simple. Jus like its classic predecessor, this upcycle design is bizarre and elegant. And just like the Castiglioni brothers, Taemin Kim proves his feeling and touch for converting everyday objects into unique upcycle design.