Little Heavy thumbnail 1
Not currently on display at the V&A

Little Heavy

Chair
1989 (designed), 1991 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

'Designer-makers' working in metal made their mark in British design in the 1980s. While it was not unusual for hand-crafted wooden furniture to be made in limited editions, much metal furniture was designed to be mass-produced mechanically for use in offices and institutions.

Ron Arad has produced welded metal furniture since the early 1980s, often from salvaged materials. His sculptural furniture is not intended for the mass market. His designs are made in limited editions with pieces named and priced like works of art. The 'Little Heavy' chair is one of an edition of 20. Ten, like this example, were made in highly reflective stainless steel, and ten in a dark matt-finish mild steel. The metalworker has created a deliberately imperfect and unfinished appearance by using a rubber hammer to beat the chair's seat and back from sheet steel.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Stainless steel, beaten and welded
Dimensions
  • Height: 80.7cm
  • Width: 103.5cm
  • Depth: 56.5cm
  • Seat height: 45.8cm
JS (17.12.2010)
Style
Production typeLimited edition
Copy Number
Number 9 of 20
Gallery Label
Section text and caption from Ron Arad: Before and After Now exhibition, 12 June - 1 October 2000: Soft Stuff The 'Spring Collection' (for Moroso in 1990), was initially a transformation of the metal volume and sprung pieces into a commercial upholstered range. The metal Big Easy was a paraphrase of an over-stuffed armchair - the Soft Big Easy is an over-stuffed armchair! The 'Spring Collection' marked the first stage of what was to become a typical working method of Ron Arad's, where precious studio pieces served as research and development tools to accessible industrial products. The 'Misfits', Sof-Sof's and Victoria & Albert Collection followed the vocabulary of the 'Spring Collection', but were created in the factory. Little Heavy Chair Stainless steel Made by One Off Ltd, London Designed 1989, made 1991 V&A Museum Number: W.17-1993
Object history
The 'Little Heavy' chair is one of an edition of twenty, ten of which were in highly reflective stainless steel and ten in dark, matt-finish, mild steel. This example was the last to be made in Arad's London workshop, and remaining examples in the edition are produce in Italy under his supervision. The bulbous, metallic form derives from a group of Arad's furntiure from the late 1980s and early 1990s.



Historical significance: The 'Little Heavy' was later translated from metal to upholstered foam ('Soft Little Heavy')for a prominent design-conscious Italian furniture manufacturer. Although the shape and volume of the original were maintained, the change of material fundamentally altered the character of the chair. From a harsh, unwelcoming and angular object of sculptural quality to a soft, comforting and enveloping object for daily use.
Historical context
A new phenomenon of 1980s design was the designer-maker who worked in metal. Their work lies within an aesthetic suggesting the collapse of the modern machine age. Though the surface of the material is often highly polished, it can also be rough and imperfect.

Ron Arad's designs were not decorative or nostalgic; designs such as the 'Little Heavy' revealed the nature of the material and the sometimes haphazard effect of the process of making.
Production
Attribution note: Number 9 of an edition of 20
Summary
'Designer-makers' working in metal made their mark in British design in the 1980s. While it was not unusual for hand-crafted wooden furniture to be made in limited editions, much metal furniture was designed to be mass-produced mechanically for use in offices and institutions.



Ron Arad has produced welded metal furniture since the early 1980s, often from salvaged materials. His sculptural furniture is not intended for the mass market. His designs are made in limited editions with pieces named and priced like works of art. The 'Little Heavy' chair is one of an edition of 20. Ten, like this example, were made in highly reflective stainless steel, and ten in a dark matt-finish mild steel. The metalworker has created a deliberately imperfect and unfinished appearance by using a rubber hammer to beat the chair's seat and back from sheet steel.
Associated Object
W.6-1994 (Version)
Bibliographic Reference
Wilk, Christopher. Western Furniture, 1350 to the Present Day. London: Philip Wilson Publishers Ltd., 1996, p. 224-225. ISBN: 1856674435
Collection
Accession Number
W.17-1993

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record createdJanuary 3, 2001
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