When it comes to Italian design houses and anniversaries, Poltrona Frau usually takes the cake. Founded in 1912 by Renzo Frau, the company was already celebrating its 50th birthday when most other design power players had barley gotten started. Such a pedigree also means the obligation to keep things fresh, and Poltrona Frau has repeatedly proven that advanced age can also mean advanced agency in design innovation. The Archibald lounge chair, designed by Jean-Marie Massaud and launched in 2009, has already achieved the status of a contemporary classic. For the company’s 110th anniversary this year, Poltrona made use of the Archibald as the de facto company mascot and called upon Felipe Pantone, the Argentine-Spanish artist known for his kinetic glitch-art paintings and large-scale murals, to give it a new twist.
For his 2022 version of the Archibald, Pantone turned to Poltrona Frau’s ColorSphere®, a chromatic map that the company developed to help customers better combine the different hues in the collection. The artist selected a palette that resembles a pixelated heat map, printing it directly onto the leather surface of the chair, whose metal legs he finished in blue-violet iridescent paint. In addition to being an artistic statement — the first time the company has collaborated with a contemporary artist — the limited-edition Archibald (only 110 were produced) is also a pledge for sustainability, since it showcases Poltrona Frau’s new Impact Less® leather, produced without chrome, with less and cleaner water, and with far fewer chemicals. “It’s important to shift Poltrona Frau’s perspective to the future,” says CEO Nicola Coropulis.