the up series by geatano pesce is celebrating it’s fortieth birthday. b&b italia has issued the chair (and attached ball ottoman) in silver to mark the event.
when i saw this piece in its new incarnation, i got an entirely new read on “la mama”. the bulbous shapes remind me of the ample females that populate paintings by reubens and even botero. the references are more visible in silver than in red or striped fabrications. the new color also brings to mind other chairs from recent memory: both the well and bad tempered chairs by ron arad (1985-2002); the big easy chair also by ron arad (1989); how high the moon chair by shiro karamata (1986); little beaver chair by frank gehry (1987), just to mention a few. i list these pieces because of their shape and/or materials…i see the connections, but have a look yourself to understand how you would connect the dots.
the attached globular ottoman is wildly reminiscent of the cliche “ball and chain” action. this reference underscores the female attributes, but the reference is more of a negative to me. visually, the ball is playful, but not very functional. however, like fitness balls, the ottoman does challenge one to keep their balance. it’s an interesting foil to the chair that literally envelopes one in maternal love.