Alfredo H

Take a Line For a Walk by Alfredo Häberli for Moroso

June 26, 2008. Tonight marks the opening of the first solo retrospective of Argentine-born, Zürich-based designer Alfredo Häberli entitled “SurroundThings” at the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich. The 44-year-old is the author of such exquisite objects as the curved and flattened Wogg 37 & 38 chair and table, the recent, zagging, high-profile Empire shelf for Quodes, the now-familiar Nais wire chair for Classicon and the low, upholstered Skate chair for Moroso. The backward-leaning armchair, Take a Line for a Walk, demonstrates Häberli’s preference for very strong lines that don’t follow conventional paths.

Curated by Häberli, along with Angeli Sachs and Moritz Schmid, the exhibition will run through September 21 and will feature products, drawings and prototypes grouped thematically. To illustrate aspects of the designers’ process, a laboratory will feature inspirations, materials and models. Three chalets, show influences on Häberli from Swiss design history while abstracted “houses” provide a stage to display work in categories. Another section shows recently produced textiles and a conceptual kitchen that provides a glimpse into the designer’s future.

The biggest treat for visitors, however, may be the prototype of the Pelle soapbox for Volvo, which was never produced. Pelle was the result of a product merchandising study by the car manufacturer and was a soapbox that was intended to fit in any Volvo automobile. “I thought to myself, a soapbox is like the first car, above all when it can be steered and braked,” explains Häberli. “Naturally, we placed great emphasis on safety and also on ease of assembly. It was intended for the ages of 8 to 16 and, as the test drives revealed, it wasn’t just men who were enthusiastic about it. Unfortunately this project was four times more expensive than planned. I still mourn for Pelle, as our son Luc was exactly the right age for this soapbox.”,

Sketches of the Wogg 37 & 38 table and chair

Nais chair for Classicon