INSIDE STORY GHYCZY
The eponymous brand of the designer behind the perfectly playful ‘Garden Egg’ chair
Hungarian-born Peter Ghyczy (1940–) will forever be associated with one design: the ‘Garden Egg’ outdoor chair (above) of 1968. The colourful creation resembled a small UFO, or perhaps a giant Smartie; its plastic shell opening up to reveal a soft, padded seat. Though the chair exuded a real sense of fun, it had a political dimension, too: it was designed in West Germany but manufactured in the Communist East, straddling the gap between two otherwise divided cultures.
Its success, especially remarkable as it was Ghyczy’s debut launch, has somewhat overshadowed the rest of the brand’s oeuvre. But a new exhibition and book, timed to coincide with the chair’s 50th anniversary, aim to redress that. ‘Peter Ghyczy: 50 Years of Functionalism’ at the ADAM Brussels Design Museum in Belgium traces the designer’s career from his early days to the foundation of his brand GHYCZY (for those wondering, it’s pronounced ‘gitsi’) in 1971 and his work up to the present day – he remains at the helm of his Netherlands-based company alongside his son, Felix.
Visitors will learn about Ghyczy’s training as an architect and engineer, which contributed to the development of his groundbreaking casting and clamping technique for metal and glass. They will also discover his diverse inspirations. ‘ What makes my aesthetic distinct is the combination of Bauhaus minimalism with Art Deco patterns and intricate details from Egyptian antiquity,’ he says. ‘My designs revolve around geometric shapes rather than organic forms.’
Those who are inspired to explore further should check out GHYCZY’S furniture and lighting. Though visually simple, the designs are constructed by specialist artisans using painstaking techniques – a methodology that Ghyczy terms ‘slow design’. ‘It means objects that are slow to deteriorate and consider the wellbeing of individuals, society and the environment,’ he explains. From the 16-piece collection for 2018, our pick is the ‘T82’ side table (left), created with Amsterdam-based designers Collective Studio. Its onyx top reveals Ghyczy’s love of precious natural materials. He may be nearing his 80th year, but this prolific talent still has plenty of ideas in store. ghyczy.com
‘ What makes my aesthetic distinct is the combination of Bauhaus minimalism with Art Deco patterns and details from Egyptian antiquity’