We all love a reissued classic. The very fact that they have been reissued is generally a sign that the design has been reasonably well received in the past. We feel safe buying them - partly perhaps because we remember them from our childhood or because we are secure in the knowledge that it isn't a fad purchase. Too many of the new contemporary designs are the hottest ticket one year and forgotten the next.
Manufacturers love them too because they usually require little investment and often immediately become best sellers. This year is no different than many others in recent memory and healthy number of reissues have come to light. Some companies, like Carl Hansen & Son, have a very good reason to be launching two vintage Hans Wegner designs in the one year (Im only showing the chair) because if he were alive today he would be turning a 100. The release of the CH88 chair - a metal framed dining chair - should be very popular as not only is it a lovely shape but it's seat has been slightly tweaked to allow it to stack. It also offers built in armrests. The chair will be available in natural oak and beech or lacquered in a huge array of colours. The frame is offered in chrome, black powder coat or stainless steel.
Carl Hansen are also releasing the rather gorgeous armchair the 'LM92 Metropolitan' chair by Ejner Larsen and Aksel Bender Madsen. Originally debuting at the 1949 Copenhagen Cabinet Makers Guild, the chair is a simple timber structure but with a beautiful heavy saddle leather seat with matching swooping arms. Available in black, cognac or natural leather with an oak or walnut base, the chair is likely to grace many a high end office fit-out for the next few years and undoubtedly a large number of domestic residences too. The chair is extremely comfortable for something with so little padding and the general look oozes classic Danish craftsmanship and quality.
An intersting reissue from Poltrona Frau is the 'Albero' revolving bookcase by Gianfranco Frattini. I'm told 'Albero' means tree in Italian and I guess the 8-12 shelves that jut out from the upright, do resemble stylised boughs of a tree. The design is self supporting, locking between ceiling and floor by a simple wind up mechanism. This allows it to be used in rooms with ceiling heights of between 2.66 and 3.26m. The design is only released in walnut at this stage.
Poltona Frau have also reissued another piece by Gastore Rinaldi after last years late fifties armchair and bench. This time around the design is a small upholstered dining chair called the DU30. Quite a unique design from 1953, the chair is made from folded steel covered in foam and upholstery. The legs bolt on in pairs to a central rib under the seat emphasising it's particularly small waisted shape. The chair is Rinaldi's most famous design and it won the Compasso d'Oro in 1954.
Artifort have reissued yet another Pierre Paulin product. This time it's a small sofa and armchair from 1962 - which makes it prior to the sensatational 'Tulip' and 'Ribbon' chairs but after his celebrated fifties design, the 'Orange Slice'. These rounded wedge shaped pieces of foam are steel framed and covered in stretch upholstery. Shown on the stand in Milan in bright orange and fushia, it seems Artifort aren't shying away from bright 60's colours.
While we are in the 60's we might as well have a look at Arflex's new reissue of a 1973 design by Cini Boeri. Arflex consider her the doyen of Italian design but I'm not convinced that the world in 2014 is quite ready for her kooky ideas again just yet. I'm happy to be proven wrong however, as she does bring her own unique personality to everything she designs. 'Botolo' comes in two heights and in fabric, fur or leather. The legs will be offered in numerous RAL colours. The 'Cousin It' fur covered version of the low chair should prove exceptionally popular will small children.
It would be hard to find something further from the Boeri aesthetic than Cappellini's newly reissued Shiro Kuramata piece - all fine steel and beautifully minimal. The 'Steelpipe' drinks trolley is visually light and delicate. I have to admit to being very fuzzy on much of Kuramata's work, so I was unsure at first whether this was new or a reissue (yes I know Kuramata died in 1991 but I thought it might have been a late unreleased piece). Anyway it has many of the same elements that exist in the Bouroullec's new chair for Mattiazzi, so for my money the reissue is right on trend. It was designed in 1968 and heralded a decade long collaboration between Kuramata and Cappellini. Sensibly it is only being reissued with a black frame and white laminate shelves.
Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni designed a very upright dining chair in 1961 that was purposefully narrow and high backed for large family gatherings. The shape of the back ensures good back support and I have to say it forces you to sit upright and is very comfortable for a minimally upholstered chair. Reissued this year by Meritalia it is at it's best in the all black version rather than some of the garish colour combinations proposed by the brand (like green with a purple leather seat).
Last but not least, is a chair reissued in two forms by Molteni & C, who have been releasing a number of pieces by Gio Ponti over the last few years. Unlike previous reissues however, these are not slick metal fifties pieces but a pair of upright compact folding chairs. Surely inspired by country archetypes of some description, the woven rattan versions have immense charm but are more rustic than is typical for either Gio Ponti or Molteni & C. While the large lounge chair leaves me baffled as to who would use it, the dining chair is obviously perfect for small apartments where space is at a premium as they fold neatly and are very comfortable. The chairs are offered upholstered in fabric or with a woven rattan seat and back. The upholstery fabric is a 1970's design by Gio Ponti called 'Poesia del mare' or 'Poetry of the Sea'.
Now who could resist that?