BY JOE COLOMBO
At first glance, anyone familiar with the work of Joe Colombo would be surprised by the Basket Collection. From a designer known for his futuristic style, his love of technology and his affinity for synthetic materials, a furniture collection in rattan seems like a significant departure from the norm. Look a little closer, however, and the hallmarks of classic Colombo become clear: organic lines, a distinctly modernist aesthetic, and a highly innovative approach to his chosen material.
HAND-WEAVING RATTAN BASKETRY
The name ‘Basket’ honors the classic hand-weaving technique used in rattan basketry. The collection comprises a three-seater sofa, a two-seater sofa, and a lounge chair, all of which share the same construction. Replacing the inner fiberglass shell that Colombo initially utilized, the core of each piece is now formed from a more environmentally responsible steel skeleton, which provides strength and stability to the unique form. This is covered with a hand-woven rattan skin, made from interlaced strips and oval stakes, a technique that demands a tremendous degree of skill and craftsmanship to create.
The design demonstrates a balance of both technique and material, combining traditional artisan methods and one of the oldest craft materials known to man with the innovative machined precision of carbon steel – a perfect blend of the artisanal and the industrial.
CONSTRUCTED FOR COMFORT
The frame is fitted with rounded cushions on the seat and back, made from a comfortable and supportive foam with cylindrical bolster cushions adding additional softness and embracing effect to the sides of the chair. The curves and contours of the cushions create an inviting and organic look, with a smooth texture that contrasts with the sense of rippling movement conveyed in the weaving pattern of the rattan below.
“Joe's Basket Collection gives a new form to traditional materials, exploiting an innovative structure that had never before been used for such large and light products. It is really exciting to see it in production once again and to see Joe’s work reaching new audiences through the collaboration with GUBI.”
Ignazia Favata, Colombo’s former assistant and now Director, Joe Colombo Studio
REMAINING TRUE TO THE VISION
First produced in the late 1960s by specialist rattan furniture manufacturer Pierantonio Bonacina, who commissioned Colombo to design it, the Basket Collection is relaunched by GUBI after decades out of production. GUBI’s reinvention remains true to Colombo’s vision as presented in his original drawings from 1967, while optimizing the proportions for the ergonomic needs of the present day.
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Joe Colombo’s design approach was always future-facing, opting to focus on lasting innovation rather than fleeting trends. His style was typically shaped by material experimentation and a pronounced emphasis on functionality. Colombo envisaged furniture that could stand independent of the architecture that surrounded it – chameleonic pieces that could adapt to suit any space, at any time. With its refined materiality, gently retro look, and inviting comfort, GUBI’s edition of the Basket Collection brings that vision to life.
RATTAN: A NATURAL EXPRESSION
All crafted from rattan – the Bohemian 72 Collection embodies Gabriella Crespi’s career-long aim to create furniture that seamlessly unites indoor and outdoor living. Her decision to use repeating layers of vertically coiled rattan vines, however, was unusual for the time, and results in a distinctive and highly luxurious take on lounge furniture that has proved truly timeless.