THIS MAGIS MO­MENT

ITAL­IAN BRAND MAGIS RISES ABOVE WITH ITS UN­ORTHO­DOX DE­SIGNS AND ITS IN­GE­NIOUS CHOICES IN MA­TE­RI­ALS AND TECH­NOL­OGY.

Home & Decor (Malaysia) - - Design Buzz -

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.

DE­SIGN LAN­GUAGE

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.

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