15th appointment with the Design Icon of the Week finally dedicated to a woman: it is the turn of the FontanaArte Table designed by Gae Aulenti.
In a Milan dominated by rationalist design (and by men), the architect and designer Gae Aulenti distinguished herself by establishing herself with a very personal and counter-current style. He operated an incredible and successful fusion between rationalism, Neoliberty and Art Deco suggestions, creating original and ironic design objects, with an undeniable charm.
The table with wheels designed for FontanaArte in 1980 is certainly one of his most iconic and well-known creations.
Openly inspired by Duchamp’s assemblage technique and ready-mades, this coffee table is irreverent and witty. It is exhibited in countless museums including the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Centre Pompidou in Paris.
In the early eighties Gae Aulenti was artistic director of Fontana Arte, a Milanese company founded by Luigi Fontana and Gio Ponti specialized in the production of furnishing objects and glass processing. While at the company’s production site, she was intrigued by the industrial trolleys used to transport glass. He drew inspiration for the design of his table with wheels: the wooden top of the industrial trolley was replaced with a thick sheet of ground glass (symbol of the company’s production history) with a thickness of 15 mm, 4 free-moving rubber industrial wheels were fixed to the top. The bolts, painted black, are deliberately visible. The idea was translated into a prototype without going through the drawing.
The wheels allow you to move the furniture very easily, making it an extremely functional table.
The aesthetics are simple and essential, but it certainly does not take second place: it is a refined and whimsical piece, with great personality.
In addition, its “industrial” flavor makes it contemporary and definitely suitable for the most popular furnishings in recent years.