Chairman: Rolf Fehlbaum hc*OP*

Kalman, Tibor

Published by Lars Muller, 1998
ISBN 10: 1568981414 / ISBN 13: 9781568981413
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Synopsis: "In the beginning people spent their days walking upright and their nights lying down. Eventually someone invented sitting. And chairs. Chairs evolved ... and multiplied. A million years (give or take) pass. A boy named Rolf is born into a family in Basel that builds shops. Their neighbors make cheese and chocolate. 1953: Rolf's father, Wili Fehlbaum, goes to America and sees a chair that blows his mind. It is by Charles and Ray Eames".Thus begins Chairman, a poetic and humorous true story about Swiss enterpreneur Rolf Fehlbaum and his internationally known furniture design company, Vitra. Acclaimed graphic designer Tibor Kalman's 600-page pictorial essay tells the story of chair design, from the invention of the chair to the success story of Vitra.The company developed a strategy of fostering collaboration with top architects, including Philippe Starck, Frank Gehry, Tadao Ando, Alvaro Siza, Zaha Hadid, and, of course, Charles and Ray Eames; work by these designers appears alongside chairs designed by Marcel Breuer, Gerrit Rietveld, Le Corbusier, Josef Hoffmann, Eero Saarinen, Isamu Noguchi, and Mies van der Rohe. This whimsical book, loaded with color illustrations, will knock you off your seat!

Review: "Measuring just 5 by 6 inches, this little red book by graphic designer Tibor Kalman-a riff on Chairman Mao's book of quotations-packs into its lively pages the wit and wisdom of a true Chair Man. He is Rolf Fehlbaum, CEO of Vitra, which produces chairs by some of the world's greatest designers. The book consists of just a handful of words and 650 amusing photographs. One section is on Fehlbaum's collection of modern furniture classics. Appropriately enough, 'Chairman' is itself designed to be a collectable." -- House Beautiful

"Most prize winners get weighty medals. Recipients of Germany's Federal Award for Design Leadership get weighty books--peans to their careers, written by a designer the winner chooses. The 1997 winner Rolf Fehlbaum, chief executive of Vitra, a Swiss furniture design company, asked Tibor Kalman, a Manhattan graphic designer, to tell his life story--and famed chair obsession." -- Elaine Louie, New York Times Currents, Feb 19, 1998

"Most prize winners get weighty metals. Recipients of Germany's Federal Award for Design Leadership get weighty books-paeans to their careers, written by a designer the winner chooses. The 1997 winner, Rolf Fehlbaum, chief executive of Vitra, a Swiss furniture company, asked Tibor Kalman, a Manhattan graphic designer, to tell his life story-and famed chair obsession." -- New York Times

'He's the greatest client in the world. I think any designer who has ever worked with him will say that.' Such effusive praise, in this case from New York designer Tibor Kalman, would probably embarrass Rolf Fehlbaum, the modest, soft-spoken CEO of Vitra. But it's hard not to describe Vitra and the man who runs it with anything less than strong admiration: this is a company that has likely fused commerce and culture more seamlessly than any other in the world. It's not only that Fehlbaum channeled his passion for collecting design into one of the few great museums devoted exclusively to the subject. And it isn't just that he's commissioned a series of edgy architects--Frank Gehry, Nicholas Grimshaw, Tadao Ando, and Zaha Hadid--to build his company's facilities. And it's not simply that Vitra has pushed the design of workplace products to a high level of technological and formal innovation. It's the collavoration with the designers that's so rare. 'All my relationships with designers are emotional ones; it's as if every project has a mother and father,' says Fehlbaum, offering a touch of Freudian insight." -- Chee Pearlman, I.D. Magazine, Jan/Feb 1998

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Chairman: Rolf Fehlbaum hc*OP*
Publisher: Lars Muller
Publication Date: 1998
Book Condition: very good

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Tibor Kalman
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