Modern Furniture, Lighting, and Home Accessories

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Harry Bertoia

Harry Bertoia

Italy, 1915 - 1978

Harry Bertoia was born in Udine, Italy, in 1915. When he was fifteen he moved with his family to Canada and then on to Michigan. In 1939 he was awarded a scholarship to the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan, which had been founded by Eliel Saarinen in 1932. He began to teach there, establishing a workshop for metalwork. At Cranbrook, Harry Bertoia met Charles Eames and in 1943 Bertoia went to California, where he worked briefly with Charles and Ray Eames for the Evans Product Company, designing furniture made of bent laminated wood.

In the 1940s Harry Bertoia concentrated entirely on furniture making and in 1950 he founded a business of his own in Bally, Pennsylvania. 1950 also was the beginning of Harry Bertoia’s collaboration with Florence and Hans Knoll, whose acquaintance he had also made at Cranbrook Academy. Harry Bertoia’s first chair design for Knoll, the Model 420 Diamond, 1950-1952, featuring molded mesh of chromium-plated steel wire, was an immediate best seller.

While he only designed one series of furniture, Bertoia continued to be involved in the Knoll story by providing sculptures and architectural installations for projects. He designed an altar for the MIT Chapel, designed by Eero Saarinen. Bertoia spent the next 25 years of his life experimenting with light, sound and volume through sculptures, paintings and architectural installations.

Today Knoll carries on Harry Bertoia’s legacy of innovation, inspiration, and beauty with the Bertoia collection, which has been in continuous production around the world since its introduction. In 2005 Knoll introduced the Asymmetric Lounge, a design from Bertoia’s initial experimentation that had never reached production.

30 Item(s)

30 Item(s)