Architect and manufacturer in Italian furniture design, 1950 to 1980 by Andrea Foffa
This article is part of the publication ‘Sooner, or Later’. 
The written work that informs this visual essay focused on the knowledge exchange between the Italian architect and the furniture manufacturer between the 1950s and the 1980s, and on a broader question of how we came to define ‘Italian Design’. Instead, I approached this visualisation as an occasion to focus on a secondary aspect of my research, whilst hinting at a critique on the perhaps excessively reverential approach academics may have towards historiography.
This visual essay plays with images gathered from ads of iconic Italian furniture from the mid 1950s to the mid 1960s, highlighting the obsession for lighter and lighter pieces of furniture and for the chair as the quintessential bearer of this newfound lightness. Looking at the promotion of the inflatable chair Blow by the company Zanotta in 1967, and, a decade before, at the design process of the wooden chair Superleggera by the company Cassina -whose memorable product launch consisted of actually ‘launching’ the chair in the middle of the company’s courtyard- one might wonder: why were chairs designed to be thrown?
Giving a serious answer to this not-so-serious question is not the intent of the visual essay – in all honesty, the exercise of creating a mock secondary source, complemented with a self quote (another common item of the historiography I have encountered) has been much more fun.