Design Mixed with Social Justice Equals a Chair by Marni

It's the Salone del Mobile 2012, or the Milan Design Show, to us non-jet setters. But even though we can't be there that doesn't mean we can't enjoy, and maybe even covet, the odd thing on display.

Such as these gorgeous chairs by the eclectic Italian fashion designer Marni. There are only one hundred of these plastic and metal chairs and they are probably all gone by now...

Design Mixed with Social justice© marni

They are designed by Consuelo Castiglioni, the founder of Marni, who is known for her eccentric patterned print fabrics. But the chairs are not upholstered. Instead they themselves are the print with their colour woven in simple shapes and combinations. All of the chairs have a metal frame and multi-coloured PVC threads woven into the back, seat and arm rests.

That means they will last a lifetime--or more--and become a vintage collector's item for the next generation.

Plastic chairs are a common household item in Colombia, where these are made. They are a variation on the local chair; updated and made with new colour variations. The bright, contrasting colour blocks are a Marni feature. There is a small matching table for inside or outside use.

The chairs are made by ex-prisoners in Colombia. The project helps them to re-establish themselves into a working and social life. Funds raised from the sale of the chairs will be donated to ICAM, a Milanese organization that reunites imprisoned mothers and their children.

The chairs are part of a photo exhibition, “L’Arte del Ritratto” which celebrates the small family company's employees. The chairs are used as backdrop and seating for a series of portraits of the staff from different departments of the firm.

The pictures were taken by an Italian photographer Francesco Jodice and will be published on line, and a travelling exhibition will make the rounds of different Marni stores around the world.

Design Mixed with Social Justice Equals a Chair by Marni
You can't always get what you want, but you can dream...chairs by the Italian fashion designer Marni at the Milan Design Show.

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