At #NeoCon09: Hot for Heller’s Bellini Chair

“Tell me what chair you’ve designed and I’ll tell you what sort of architect you are,” says designer Mario Bellini. As with many other Italian architects, Bellini’s activities range from architecture and urban planning to furnishings and industrial design. His first two decades of work earned him international success, acknowledged by a personal retrospective exhibition in 1987 at the Museum of Modern Art where 25 of his works were already included in the Permanent Collection.

Bellini Chair. Designed by Mario Bellini for Heller.

Mario has since designed numerous pieces for Heller, beginning with The Bellini Chair in 1998. According to his own personal statement, this chair, and the others he has created, are entirely representative of what kind of architect he is. Bellini has said that designing a chair is “infinitely more complex than designing a skyscraper.” Fortunately, he seems to know how to do it.  His 1977 Cab Chair for Cassina,  a “skeletal steel frame that was enameled and covered with leather upholstery,” (Via Bauhaus 2) became an international success,  representing “a fusion of sorts, a new alliance between industrial/utilitarian elements and classical features,” according to 3Rings. 




MB Collection. Designed by Mario Bellini for Heller.

The Bellini chair for Heller won the coveted Compasso d’Oro in 2001. The injection molded stacking chair can potentially be viewed as an evolution of the Cab Chair, utilizing a very similar form yet entirely different materiality.  It is appropriate for indoor/outdoor, commercial, institutional or residential use, featuring a slightly textured, fully washable surface. Basically, the chair live anywhere and withstand nearly anything. The flexing action of the back provides the chair with a high degree of comfort. Not surprisingly, given its success, The Bellini Chair evolved into The UltraBellini Chair. Though still an injection molded stacking chair with a nearly identical shape, the UltraBellini Chair is produced in nylon with a high-gloss finish. Elegant and extraordinary.

Between the creation of the Bellini Chair and The UltraBellini Chair, Bellini himself was hard at work on another collection for Heller: the MB Collection. According to the company, the collection is  “Another classic Bellini. Another technological innovation.” Made of self cushioning polymer, the pieces are exceedingly comfortable. As with his famous chairs, the collection is built for office, home and hospitality; Indoor and outdoor. The MB Collection includes an armchair, sofa and pouf/table.  Functional simplicity seems to be what drives Bellini’s work in chair design, and subsequently his work as an architect as well.

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