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Hot from Milan, Kartell pieces arrive

It’s been a long time coming, but Backhouse Design has finally received several new products showcased by Kartell at the Milan Fair in April. Some great new designs including the Masters chair by Philippe Starck and Eugeni Quitllet; the Pop Duo Armchair and Sofa designed by Piero Lissoni with Carlo Tamborini; and the Ghostbuster Night tables also by Starck and Quitllet. 

Michelle Backhouse explains Kartell is one of the few large Italian furniture companies that’s still family owned after 60 years in business, which ensures they can respond to market demand and remain at the cutting edge of design. 

“Many of the international design companies are constrained by being part of big banking groups, so they can’t be light on their feet when it comes to research and development. Kartell only produces about 12 designs a year and they release them at the major international fairs to see if they are going to be commercially viable.” 

Even if that viability isn’t so clear, “sometimes, they are prepared to take the risk and put them into production anyway,” Backhouse explains. Because it’s family owned, Kartell doesn’t have to respond quite so rigidly to the financial demands of fiscally aware shareholders. After testing the market at Milan, Kartell went into production shortly afterwards and the pieces that have just arrived in New Zealand are the result. 

In the Masters chair, Starck pays tribute to three icons of contemporary design. “We weren't born just today. There have been masters before us The Masters Chair brings to mind the lines of three great masters and three great masterpieces.

“Putting them all together they create a new product, a new project, a reflection on a new society. His fusion of styles combines Arne Jacobsen’s Series 7 chair, the Tulip Armchair by Eero Saarinen and the Eiffel Chair by Charles Eames, which are interwoven in a charming hybrid.”

Supported on four slender legs, the Masters chair is roomy and comfortable. Its distinctiveness is in the back, which is characterised by the solidity and void created by the meeting of curving lines of the three different backs which flow down and join together along the perimeter of the chair.

The Pop Duo Armchair and Sofa has a double seat and side cushions that are soft, roomy and even more comfortable than the original modular Pop sofa. The sofa and armchair frames can be disassembled  and the covers can be removed. They come in new Nilo and Eskimo fabrics of silk, cotton and viscose and silk. 

The Small Ghostbuster and the Ghostbuster are night tables that have four slim legs supporting a cube, while the Ghostbuster incorporates shelves as well.