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The Museum Chair by Mendini

The Museum Chair by Mendini

Product: Chair ‘Sedile del Museo Bagatti Valsecchi’

Designer: Alessandro Mendini

Manufacturer: Osvaldo Mastrangelo

Dimensions: h: 84, w: 38, d: 53, sh: 45 cm

Materials: beech wood, mother-of-pearl inlays

Price on request at

A postmodern chair that tells a historic story: designed in 1996 by Alessandro Mendini for the Museo Bagatti Valsecchi – a noble family residence, renovated in 1883 by the two brothers Giuseppe and Fausto Bagatti Valsecchi.

They transformed the large mansion into a reminiscence of 16th-century Lombard palaces with aristocratic grandeur and noblesse – and a collection of 15th and 16th-century decorative arts for an authentic, antique feel. The family continued to live in the house until 1974, then it was transferred to the Bagatti Valsecchi foundation and opened up to the public.

Twenty years later, Mendini designed a chair for the museum, to stand out from the antique exhibits, but also to fit in respectfully. Mendini cites alpine farmhouse chairs from the 17th and 18th centuries with carvings on the seat, backrest and legs.

The backrest shows an abstract portrait of a woman (Mendini’s muse and partner Anna Gili) and two fish with mother-of-pearl inserts as eyes on the left and right. The typically angled legs provide more stability. It’s also an example for Mendini’s often humorous takes on furniture and on the history of design and only a few of these chairs were made.

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