IN­SIDE STORY GHYCZY

The epony­mous brand of the de­signer be­hind the per­fectly play­ful ‘Garden Egg’ chair

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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’

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