February 17, 2010

Quaderna, the series designed by Superstudio in 1970 for Zanotta, celebrates 40 years

First, a history. 

The Quaderna series represents the radical design movement of the late ‘60s. Franco Raggi wrote (in his “Radical Story” (Casaballa, 1973)) that the radical movement tried to “overcome the disciplinary discourse of design, namely the reconstruction of the contradictions at the formal level, destroying… the normal image of the product.”

The series was designed by the Superstudio group of Florence. Superstudio consisted of Adolfo Natalini, Cristiano Toraldo di Francia, and the Frassinelli and Magris brothers. Together, they designed a plethora of objects for the Quaderna series. Everything from flat surfaces to furniture to architecture.

Everything started in ’69 with the “Histograms” designed by Natalini and companions: objects built on the base of the spatial lattice orthogonal grid. A family of unique and timeless furniture took shape, and an icon based on regular geometric shapes covered with squared white laminate and characterized by strict volumes was born. Neutral and strong at the same time: a single square “with legs” that becomes a table and space, as well as a chair, bench, cabinet, and stool.

Zanotta decied to put Quaderna into production in 1971, because as a company, they have always sought after and encouraged experimentation with design.

Zanotta still manufactures the table, desk, console, and bench. These pieces have received numerous awards, and are exhibited in major museums all across the world.

If you’d like to see some of the Quaderna series in person, please stop by DZINE. 

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