THIS MAGIS MOMENT
ITALIAN BRAND MAGIS RISES ABOVE WITH ITS UNORTHODOX DESIGNS AND ITS INGENIOUS CHOICES IN MATERIALS AND TECHNOLOGY.
The Magis Spun chair came into the spotlight when we teamed up with Linds Furniture for a contest back in October 2013. Designed by renowned British designer Thomas Heatherwick, it is a chair, a sculpture and a spinning top all blended into one. Through rotational plastic moulding, the seat, the back and the armrests of the chair all share the same profile. The oscillating chair comes in an array of fun colours and is perfect for both indoors and outdoors.
The Spun chair, however, is only one of the many highlights in Magis’ vast catalogue. Throughout the years, the brand has produced multiple iconic designs that changed the way we look at domestic designs with the right combo of materials and technology. “Passion forms the backbone of Magis,” reveals Alberto Perazza, who is currently heading the operations of the company founded by his father in 1976. “We may not be experts in design but we strive to stay ahead of the game by experimenting with materials and by utilising sophisticated technology. Innovation is what separates us from our peers.”
Indeed, Magis has broken many a rule when it comes to furniture design. The brand is often credited as the pioneer in the production of plastic furniture and is the first company in the world to use the blow moulding technique in the manufacturing of furniture. “We began using plastic during a time when metal and wood were still the preferred material in furniture production,” says Perazza. “We saw a great potential in plastic and it was plastic that allowed us to inject wonderful colours to our products.”
RISE TO FAME
In 1984, the company introduced a folding stepladder designed by Dutch-Japanese couple Andries and Hiroko van Onck that was made from injection-moulded ABS with a steel frame. Critics were not impressed with the product, thinking that it belonged to hardware stores but the public embraced it whole-heartedly. In two decades, a million of these ladders have been produced. 10 years later, a plastic bottle rack designed by famed British designer Jasper Morrison catapulted Magis to international stardom. The stackable
rack, made from polypropylene with connecting tubes in anodised aluminium, went on to become the brand’s bestselling item.
In 2000, Magis made headline again when the Air-Chair was launched. Also designed by Morrison, it is the first single-shell chair in the world to be materialised via blow moulding. A decade later, the design circuit was abuzz with awe when the Sparkling chair, designed by Dutch maestro Marcel Wanders, hit stores. The chair is made from PET plastic and produced using the same moulding technique commonly used to manufacture water bottles. The hollow space of the chair is then filled with high-pressure air that creates strong and structural components. This method minimises the use of plastic, giving the chair a mere weight of one kilogramme.
Magis’s breakthroughs have received widespread acclaim and recognition. It has bagged numerous awards for its products, including the prestigious Compasso d’Orco Award and the IF Product Design Award. Of course, working with a string of top-notch designers also puts the brand under the limelight. Besides the names mentioned earlier in this article, Magis has also worked with Marc Newson, Naoto Fukasawa, Ron Arad, the Bouroullec brothers, Jean-Marie Massaud and Eero Aarnio. Perazza reveals that the company selects a designer based on his background, style and design language and endeavours to forge a long-term relationship with each designer. Magis remains extremely involved in the design process nonetheless, meeting designers to discuss about design on a regular basis.
“Konstantin Grcic, for instance, is one of our long-time collaborators, as well as Philippe Starck,” he says. “But my most memorable collaboration was with Stefano Giovannoni on the Bombo stool because it became an instant hit when it was launched.” Introduced in 1996, the Bombo stool is Magis’ most iconic piece and its design has been widely copied. Perazza laments that this is the price to pay for success but he tries to look at the bright side. He says with a laugh, “Only successful designs are counterfeited and I’d like to see it as a form of ‘tribute’.” Magis is available at Linds Furniture, 162 Jalan Maarof, Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur, tel: +603-2094-6055.
Ron Arad’s Folly bench is a threedimensional take on the mobius strip.
above Philippe Starck’s eco-friendly Zartan chair. below The design of the Bombo chair has been widely copied.