1960s Italian 'Elda' Joe Columbo Swivel Lounge Chair

I have a pair of this iconic chairs but both listed separately. 1960s Italian 'Elda' swivel lounge chair designed by Joe Colombo in 1963 (1930-1971 ) and manufactured by Comfort Italy. This is one of the most well-known, space-age and futuristic designs from this innovative and forward-thinking Italian designer and named in honour of his wife. The white fibreglass shell is fitted with seven deep padded black leather cushions which provide comfort from all sides.  The four back cushions are designed to hug your back completely including your neck and head. -  "A modernist wing-backed chair with a womb-like plastic frame upholstered in thick leather pads"

The white body is made from fibreglass with the seated area from fitted smooth leather which the cushions clip on to.  I have had the cushions re-made at great expense by an experienced upholsterer who used the originals as templates.  She re-used the original chrome clips on every cushion to ensure they're securely fastened to the leather skin and in the correct place/position.  There are some small scuffs to the original leather skin and one tear which are hardly noticeable and to be expected from a chair over 60 years old.  The cushions are in perfect condition.  There is a small crack at the very base of the shell on the back which I have illustrated in one of the images apart from that it's in very good condition. 

The chair specifically the lower base section is very heavy where it is weighted to ensure it's counter-balanced whenever anyone is sitting in it.  It does not wobble at all and spins around and around freely.  

An interesting piece from Architectural Digest about the background of the chair and why it's a favourite with designers: "After Italian designer Joe Colombo visited a shipyard in 1963 that made fiberglass hulls for boats, inspiration struck: Why not use that same hand-molding technique for the base of a chair?

The results—a roomy, futuristic armchair in which seven detachable cushions hook into a molded plastic shell on a rotating base—would become an icon. He named it after his wife, Elda. 

Colombo moved a white fiberglass and black leather model—produced by Italian brand Comfort in 1965—into his own Milan apartment. And soon, after the design debuted at the Eurodomus 1 fair in Genoa, others followed suit. The strange chair (further documented in  Joe Colombo: Designer: Catalogue Raisonné 1962–2020, a new publication by Silvana Editoriale) captured the 1960s space-age sensibility of fashion designers like Paco Rabanne and Pierre Cardin, and was on its way to the silver screen, where AD100 designer Luis Laplace first saw it.

“In the 1969 film Hibernatus, a man sitting in the Elda armchair explains the challenges and benefits of hibernation,” recalls Laplace of his early-childhood encounter with the seat. He and partner Christophe Comoy now live with one in Paris. Elda went on to star in the 1977 Bond flick The Spy Who Loved Me, in the 1970s series Space: 1999, and in the 2012 movie The Hunger Games, proving Laplace’s point: “It oozes power.”

The appeal is wide-ranging. Designer Hollie Bowden, who snapped up a worn-in Elda in Morocco for a project in Ibiza, calls it “super comfy and quite bosslike.” Meanwhile, designer Jonathan Adler, who lives with one in his Manhattan home, calls the seat “a strange mix of plastic futurism and organic brainlike channel upholstery in a commanding scale.” Or, as he has deemed it, “executive squish.”

Dimensions: W: 95cm D: 92cm H: 93cm Seat Height: 40cm 


Some information about the designer Joe Columbo from 1st Dibs 

"He died tragically young, and his career as a designer lasted little more than 10 years. But through the 1960s, Joe Colombo proved himself one of the field’s most provocative and original thinkers, and he produced a remarkably large array of innovative furniture, lighting and product designs. Even today, the creations of Joe Colombo have the power to surprise.

Cesare “Joe” Colombo was born in Milan, the son of an electrical-components manufacturer. He was a creative child — he loved to build huge structures from Meccano pieces — and in college he studied painting and sculpture before switching to architecture. In the early 1950s, Colombo made and exhibited paintings and sculptures as part of an art movement that responded to the new Nuclear Age, and futuristic thinking would inform his entire career. He took up design not long after his father fell ill in 1958, and he and his brother, Gianni, were called upon to run the family company. Colombo expanded the business to include the making of plastics — a primary material in almost all his later designs. One of his first, made in collaboration with his brother, was the Acrilica table lamp (1962), composed of a wave-shaped piece of clear acrylic resin that diffused light cast by a bulb concealed in the lamp’s metal base. A year later, Colombo produced his best-known furniture design, the Elda armchair (1963): a modernist wingback chairwith a womb-like plastic frame upholstered in thick leather pads. 

Portability and adaptability were keynotes of many Colombo designs, made for a more mobile society in which people would take their living environments with them. One of his most striking pieces is the Tube chair (1969). It comprises four foam-padded plastic cylinders that fit inside one another. The components, which are held together by metal clips, can be configured in a variety of seating shapes. Tube chairs generally sell for about $9,000 in good condition; Elda chairs for about $7,000. A small Colombo design such as the plastic Boby trolley — an office organizer on wheels, designed in 1970 — is priced in the range of $700. As Colombo intended, his designs are best suited to a modern decor. As you see on 1stDibs, if your tastes run to sleek, glossy Space Age looks, the work of Joe Colombo offers you a myriad of choices"

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