Architects and designers in search of a specialist show at which to explore the latest developments and material innovations in European chair design had a treat at last month's Promosedia 2004: The 28th International Chair Exhibition in Udine, Italy. From conservative to kooky contract and funky residential, the 200 mainly local exhibitors came to show off fresh designs, daring prototypes and one or two old favourites. A refreshing absence of 'trend' in materials was in evidence, with halls a hotch-potch of striking dark wenge, lighter woods, distressed leathers and vibrantly coloured plastics and resins. In structure, smooth curves were very much in, with the emphasis on inviting the 12,500 visitors to curl up comfortably. Highlights of this year's show included the Top Ten Awards for domestic and residential chairs (highlights below), the est est est young designers' exhibition, the Caiazza Memorial Challenge International Design Competition, and an informative visit to Italy's premier furniture testing laboratory CATAS, all peppered with local gastromic delights. And of course, not having to worry about tired legs from all that wondering around. For more information and news from the show, visit www. promosedia. it The curvaceous shape of designer Daniel Rode's EOL chair won P.S.M the coveted title of Residential Chair of the Year. Made from a single piece of oak plywood, delicately shaped in an 'S' curve, it impressed the judges with the manipulation of the material to produce a dramatic focal point in the modern home.
Voted Contract Chair of the Year was the colourful and comfortable NOAH F polyurethane armchair from Sintesi 2, designed by Marcello Ziliani. The armrests have the same shape and measurements as the backrest, forming a protective enclave.
NOAH F has a steel tubing column and sheet steel base.
One of the runners-up in the competition for contract chair of the year, Alberto Turolo's Up & Down stool for I.T.F was admired by judges and visitors alike for its clever construction.
Laser-cut from a single sheet of steel, the stool is folded and soldered into shape. Its tough exterior makes it suitable for outdoor use as well as interiors.
Highly commended in the residential contest and a firm favourite with visitors was the Cubo Armonico chair designed by Agnese Baggio for Meterc Riccardo. The technical details of the minimalist but geometrically striking beech frame are concealed, leaving the leather weave of the seat as the main feature.