1957 (reedition 2004)
The Digamma armchair is an eclectic presence, harmoniously fusing elements that seemed impossible to combine: a rationalistic body, consisting of a seat and backrest with geometric, essential volumes and extremitieswith a new sensibility and a heavy dose of irony.
How can one of the leading representatives of Italian architectural rationalism become a predecessor of a new aesthetic that transcends it The answer is the Digamma armchair, one of the first pieces that dared to venture beyond rationalism. In his architectural works of the early fifties, Ignazio Gardella was already hinting at a rebellion against the canons of the Modern Movement. His quest for new forms of aesthetic expression in the realm of design culminated in the Digamma armchair, which entered the history of design precisely because it was an eloquent, explicit embodiment of that rebellion. Digamma’s appearance on the market stirred up the still waters of the International Style (defined by Gavina as a stylistic trivialization of the founding principles of functionalism and architectural rationalism). In this context, it seems reasonable to venture that the only person capable of creating this piece was Dino Gavina, the aesthetic agent whose vision went far beyond the mere commercial success of his products. Gavina chose to design a piece that implied a formal and cultural provocation, merging art and industry, and incorporating a symbolic weight that was impervious to any practice or concept of style or fashion. As Gavina said, Digamma represents the joy of metamorphosis, as opposed to the rigidity and gravity of what, at the time, was understood as design. The armchair designed by Gardella thus becomes a preview of the features that would later define the Ultrarazionale project launched by Gavina and Carlo Scarpa in 1968, while also leaping twenty years ahead to the definitive break with rationalism that would take place in the early eighties. Ultimately, Digamma emerges as an homage to Italian creativity in those years. If it is true, as André Breton wrote, that "beauty will be convulsive or will not be at all", clearly Digamma is, beyond its functionality, an eminently beautiful piece.
Designer: Ignazio Gardella
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