Tube Chair (1969)

Italian industrial design powerhouse Joe Colombo might have been responsible for designing the first-ever modular sofa with his iconic Tube Chair. First manufactured by Flexform in 1969, it’s found in many museums all over the world including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Vitra Design Museum.

INTERACTIVE VIEW (Click and Drag)

3D Model Available at:  https://www.turbosquid.com/FullPreview/Index.cfm/ID/1287594


Italian Design

Joe Colombo (1930-1971) designed “Tube Chair” in 1969, the year after student protests took over streets and squares throughout the West.

Italian architect and designer Joe Colombo responded to the changing social conditions of the 1960s by radically reinventing furniture forms and creating innovative interior environments reflecting swiftly evolving modes of living.

Thanks to Italian furniture brand Cappelini, the adjustable chair has been reissued and can now feature prominently in your own living room.

Joe Colombo was an Italian industrial designer.

Image source: https://www.stilnovoitalia.it/en-ww/joe-colombo.aspx

Image source: http://www.eyeondesign.it/tube-chair-di-joe-colombo/

“I didn’t want a piece of this importance to remain only on the pages of design books,” said creative director Giulio Cappellini. “Instead I wanted it to still be purchased and used today.”

detail of the hooks for the tube chair

Image source: http://www.italianways.com/tube-chair-by-joe-colombo-revolutionarys-armchair/

The graphic, highly modern chair is made up of four tubes of varying diameter connected by fastening hooks. They form the headrest, back support, seat, and leg rest and can be configured according to the user’s preference. At first, Flexform sold “Tube Chair” packaged in a canvas bag similar to the ones used for sleeping bags.

Info source: https://www.curbed.com/2016/8/1/12343896/joe-colombo-tube-chair-cappelini-reissue

The extremely original armchair he invented – combining four hollow cylinders in PVC, foam rubber, and leather – is proof of the deeply oppositional spirit of the Milanese self-professed “anti-designer”. Like many of his fellow artists in Italy and in Europe who gathered under the Radical Design label, and drew inspiration from Pop Art and avant-gardist movements, Colombo used art to express his dissent for mainstream rationalism.

sketches by Joe Colombo on the possible shapes for the chair

Image source: http://www.italianways.com/tube-chair-by-joe-colombo-revolutionarys-armchair/

The modular cylinders that make up “Tube Chair” allow the user to customize the armchair’s shape (or join more than one to invent even more imaginative configurations), adapting it to the available space.

Info source: http://www.italianways.com/tube-chair-by-joe-colombo-revolutionarys-armchair/

Joe Colombo Tube Chair 1969

Image source: http://www.moderndesign.org/2011/12/joe-colombo-tube-chair-1969.html

 

How is it Made?

Tube Chair is made of four main components, each component is hollowed using rotational moulding technology. New generation manufacturing techniques have kept intact the essence of the original design: metal hooks connect each component together and can also be swapped over to suit different needs (backrest and seat have exactly the same shape). Tube Chair is upholstered in either leather or a bi-stretch fabric available in the following Cappellini colours: black, white, yellow, turquoise or orange.

all the pieces can be inserted into each other to reduce the overall dimensions

Image source: http://rtty1.com/2017/05/04/tube-chair/

Info source: https://magazine.designbest.com/en/design-culture/objects/tube-chair-by-cappellini-the-iconic-chaise-longue-by-joe-colombo/

 

A Timeless Icon

“Even though it’s been a long time since it’s initial design, it continues to preserve its freshness and contemporaneity. It was the first modular sofa able to fit every need and still has a very contemporary pop image. […] I have always considered Tube Chair by Joe Colombo a milestone in the history of contemporary design.” said Cappellini.

Cappellini Showroom in Paris with the re-edition of the famous Tube Chair by Joe Colombo

Image source: https://www.area-arch.it/cappellini-a-parigi-con-la-riedizione-di-tube-chair/

Modular, flexible, simple and customizable: Tube is back. The project by Joe Colombo made the history of Italian design and is part of the permanent collections of the Triennale di Milano, Moma and Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.  Cappellini started producing a new version of the award-winning armchair that this year won the wallpapaer design award 2018.

Info source: https://www.cappellini.it/en/products/news-2015/tube-chair

The Tube Chair is an Italian design icon from the late sixties and might have been an inspiration and part of the creative mood boards of the Marni team while creating this cute little heel for their SS||2015 footwear.

Info and image source: http://www.intothefashion.com/2009/12/about-me.html

Data sheet

Designer: Joe Colombo (Italian, Milan 1930–1971 Milan)

Manufacturer: Flexform, (actual manufacture, Cappellini)

Year: 1969–70

Medium: PVC plastic (polyvinyl chloride), tubular steel, rubber, polyurethane foam, synthetic knit upholstery

Dimensions:

Outer dimensions (61 × 49.5 cm)
Outer dimensions (61 × 40 cm)
Outer dimensions (61 × 29.2 cm)
Outer dimensions (61 × 17.8 cm)
Inner diameter (40 cm)
Inner diameter (31 cm)
Inner diameter (19.5 cm)
Inner diameter (9.5 cm)
Mount (6 Original metal clamps): (8.9 × 7 cm)

Tube Chair Cappellini, dimensions.

Image source: https://www.miliashop.com/en/armchairs-chaise-longue/15381-tube-chair-cappellini.html

Info source: https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/1987.98.1a-d/