Alberto Meda came to product design by way of mechanical engineering. A graduate of Milan Polytechnic, he cut his teeth as Technical Director for Kartell, before moving on to freelance design with renowned manufacturers like Alessi, Cinelli, Colombo Design, Luceplan, and of course, Vitra.
The latter provided fertile soil for his demonstrated talent, beginning with the Meda Chair, an impressive task chair that synthesized everything there was to know about the ergonomics of sitting with a beautiful streamlined design that proudly wears its engineering on its sleeve. Features include a tilting lockable seat, sling-style upholstery, and backrest in leather or mesh fabric.
Omaggio a Donald Judd for Cyrcus is a simple shelf concept with a cool conceit. It ships flat pack with machined perforations—on receipt, users simply bend the sides into their predetermined contours: “without effort thanks to the cuts placed wherever appropriate.”
True to the name, Origami also traffics in precision folds—this time, in the form of a collapsible radiator for Tubes Radiatori. Meda says that the product exemplifies his notion of subtly hidden exactitude or “objects that are essential but conceal a perfected technological complexity.” With its lightweight portability, Origami offers this and more, effectively pulling back the curtain on a useful object mindfully designed.
Ipe for Luci di Carrara continues this thread of form following function. This is a simple side table simply designed. Integrating the very best aspects of wood and stone, Ipe assembles in four elements, its elegant engineering displayed in the twin reveals of the top, which also create a lovely look and enhanced textural appeal.
Even more engineering is extolled in Flap for Caimi Brevetti. This acoustical dampening panel utilizes Snowsound Technology to attenuate noise, but, as with most things Meda, there’s more. Flap’s real calling card is its integrated mounting hardware. An articulated spherical hinge and chromed steel arm enable easy attachment and extended adjustability. Flap can rotate 360 degrees and incline in any direction, thereby personalizing aesthetics and acoustics.
Lastly, we come full circle with a second office chair for Vitra. Physix is a consummate Meda example of simplicity concealing complexity. This is to say that the chair is light and elastic, easy to move and easy to move around in, yet shows no bells and whistles nor desires to explain itself in any way. Physix’s essence is its taught elastic seat and back—“the idea of creating a continuous seat shell by stretching a single textile panel between two side members.” This, along with the tapered structural elements that effectively act like hinges, makes Physix a physical marvel.
Alberto Meda has designed and engineered products for Vitra, Luceplan, Kartell, Alessi, Cinelli, Alfa Romeo, and many others. He is a multiple winner of the Compass d’Oro as well as the Good Design award, the RedDot award, and the Best Of NeoCon. His work is part of the permanent collection at MOMA, N.Y. He lives and works in Milan. Read more at Alberto Meda.