Locus Solus Series by Gae Aulenti for Poltronova

Table of Contents

The Locus Solus series, named after Raymond Roussel’s book, is a collection of outdoor furniture designed in 1967 by the renowned architect Gae Aulenti. Initially produced by Poltronova and then Zanotta, it was later acquired by Exteta. The collection includes a chair, table, adjustable lamp, sofa, sun lounger, and bench. This series stands out due to its vibrant energy, created using curvy metallic tubes and bold colors – an aesthetic nod to the artistic movement of pataphysics.

Gae Aulenti designed this garden furniture series for Poltronova in collaboration with students from the Pistoia art school. She drew inspiration from the woodwork of the Sgarsul chair, an emblem of neo-liberty style, reinterpreting it in a pop key and exploring linguistic potentials related to an exit from functionalism’s rigors. The result was a collection that parodied tubular furniture of the 60s, creating sinuous and refined forms that brush against each other within all the elements of the series.

Locus Solus Gae Aulenti: The Spotlight on the Big Screen and Exhibitions

The Locus Solus collection also appeared in the 1969 film “La Piscine” directed by Jacques Deray. The sun lounger from the collection was exhibited at a dedicated designer show, “A Creative Universe,” at the Vitra Design Museum.

Description and Structure of Locus Solus

The structure of the Locus Solus series consists of painted steel tubes, which subsequently undergo a sandblasting process. Two coats of epoxy-acrylic anti-corrosive primer are applied to ensure steel adhesion and corrosion resistance. As a finish, two coats of acrylic paint are applied, making the product shiny and resistant to light and weather.

Poltronova Rocking Chairs

Materials and Colors in the Locus Solus Series

The materials used in the series are common to all its components. Moreover, the structure consists of painted steel bars that, through bending games, create sinuous and welcoming forms. The external coverings also use printed acrylic fabric, showcasing vibrant colors and textures typical of the ’60s.

Furthermore, the fabric and the steel of all the objects in the collection are available in different color variants that remain faithful to the Sixties style. Notably, the steel bars are available in orange, pure white, gentian blue, sulfur yellow, and bright green. In contrast, the fabric print is available in “Logo blue” and “Logo green.” Remarkably, Gae Aulenti managed to explore the expressive potential of color applied to metal through these products.

As a result, this creates a fresh and relaxed environment, free from any pre-established composition paradigm that can adapt to each individual’s vision of space.

Gae Aulenti Locus Solus Dining Chairs and Lamp

Locus Solus: Lines and Volumes

We can define the line dominating the Locus Solus collection as harmonious contrast. The frame’s structure follows curvy and fluid lines that give a sense of welcome to the entire collection. The structure expresses minimalism and extravagance at the same time by incorporating circular and linear structural volumes.

Enhancements in the Locus Solus Collection

Based on the product’s figurative and chromatic characteristics, it is evident that Gae Aulenti focused on values that semiotician Jean-Marie Floch considers playful-aesthetic and practical. Furthermore, the playful enhancement is apparent in the attempt to connect with the artistic ideology of pataphysics. The graphic illustration featured in the series makes evident references to Gidouille. Additionally, the project choice presents the furniture collection as an outdoor set, which bears a significant analogy to the open-air museum described in the book Locus Solus.

Poltronova Vintage Advertising

Figurative and Plastic Component

The Locus Solus series features painted steel tubes in eccentric colors like orange, lemon yellow, pistachio green, and eggplant purple. Finished with cushions in polyvinyl material, coated with a cotton-jute fabric printed and designed according to a pattern of concentric circles with bright colors on a white background. Every product of the series presents minimal and geometric forms, parallel lines, and circumferences. The rounded silhouette combined with the colors expresses and confirms the artist’s intention to recall Pop Art.

Locus Solus Floor Lamp

Poltronova: A Hub of Renowned Designers

Poltronova, one of the manufacturers of the Locus Solus series, has been a hub for many famous designers. These include Ettore Sottsass, Archizoom, De Pas, D’Urbino and Lomazzi, and Giovanni Michelucci, who have all created pieces that have shaped the design landscape.

In conclusion, the Locus Solus Gae Aulenti series is more than just outdoor furniture—it’s a work of art that not only enhances our spaces but also encapsulates the enduring power of innovative design.

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