Collectie van topdesigner Harry Bertoia - Buro International

Harry Bertoia


Harry Bertoia

Harry Bertoia was a complete and gifted artist. Knoll historian Brian Lutz once said, "Bertoia's paintings were better than his sculptures. And his sculptures were better than his furniture. And his furniture was absolutely brilliant."

After attending Detroit Technical High School and the Detroit School of Arts and Crafts, Harry Bertoia opened his own metal shop near Cranbrook, where he taught jewelry design and metalworking. In 1946, he moved to California to help fellow Cranbrook alumnus Charles Eames develop methods for laminating and bending plywood. Bertoia's contributions to the famous Eames chairs were crucial, if not well known.

At the suggestion of Herbert Matter, who had worked side by side with Eames and Bertoia, Florence and Hans traveled to California and encouraged Bertoia to move east and set up his own metal shop in a corner of Knoll's production facility. Florence had been taught by Bertoia at Cranbrook and was convinced that he would produce something extraordinary if given the time and space to experiment.

Characteristic of the early environment at Knoll, Hans and Florence never demanded that Bertoia design furniture, but instead encouraged him to explore what he wanted. They simply asked that if he discovered anything interesting, he would show it to them. It will not be surprising that Harry Bertoia came up with something remarkable. His iconic wire furniture collection, introduced in 1952, is recognized worldwide as one of the great achievements in furniture design of the 20th century.

Although he designed only one furniture series, Bertoia remained involved in the Knoll story by providing sculptures and architectural installations for Planning Unit projects. For example, he designed an altar for the MIT Chapel, designed by Eero Saarinen. Bertoia spent the next 25 years of his life experimenting with light, sound and volume through sculptures, paintings and architectural installations.

Today, Knoll carries on Harry Bertoia's legacy of innovation, inspiration and beauty with the Bertoia collection, which has been in continuous production worldwide since its introduction. In 2005, Knoll introduced the Asymmetrical Lounge, a design from Bertoia's first experiments that was never put into production.