TEN: BEYOND THE BEETLE
By Arthur Arbesser
In the ‘Oca Chair’, fashion designer Arthur Arbesser pays homage to the late master of Italian design, Enzo Mari. Arbesser has transformed the seat and backrest of the Beetle into the snapping bill of a goose, while the base references Mari’s cement panettone dispersed all over the Milan cityscape. In collaboration with Italian artisan Alan Zinchi, Arbesser has crafted the Oca in solid wood, with an original Beetle seat upholstered in bright orange fabric.
“The Beetle Chair’s origin and name come from an animal, so I also wanted to look to nature for my interpretation. I tried to understand what I could see in the shape of the Beetle and, from the second I started focussing, all I could see was an open beak, and Enzo Mari’s famous goose profile came to my mind, together with an idea of pop art in a lighter, more playful design language. The most successful ideas are often made of very few – almost obvious – yet new thoughts and combinations.”
– Arthur Arbesser
FASHION DESIGNER, MILAN
Born and raised in Vienna, Austria, Arthur Arbesser studied at Central Saint Martin’s College in London, and now calls Milan home. Shortly after graduating, he was hired by Giorgio Armani and worked alongside him for seven years before launching his own signature womenswear brand in January 2013. His work, which he describes as ‘sophisticated yet bursting with energy’ is strongly influenced by Vienna’s history and culture. In 2015 he became an LVMH Prize finalist and today designs for his own brand as well as being creative director of Italian label Fay. He is frequently described as one of the most promising young designers in fashion today.
“Referencing two projects from the master of Italian design Enzo Mari, Arthur Arbesser revolutionizes their function and alters their dimensions to create an irresistible seat, full of charisma. Oca Chair is a sculptural piece in which the historical references propel the Beetle Chair towards the classics – a journey in which the traveling companions are time and irony.”
- Marco Sammicheli, curator, TEN: Beyond the Beetle
TEN: BEYOND THE BEETLE
GUBI SALONE 2023’s landmark exhibition showcases 10 creative responses to a modern design icon.
In ‘Scarabesque’, artist and designer Adam Nathaniel Furman has accentuated the form of the Beetle and used color and pattern to transform the chair into a fabulous throne, suggesting new contexts for the design, from the club to a fairytale musical.
In the ‘Oca Chair’, fashion designer Arthur Arbesser pays homage to the late master of Italian design, Enzo Mari. Arbesser has transformed the seat and backrest of the Beetle into the snapping bill of a goose, while the base references Mari’s cement panettone dispersed all over the Milan cityscape.
FRESHENING UP THE PALACE
‘Freshening Up the Palace’ by visual artist and ceramicist Daphne Christoforou is a hand-crafted amphora decorated with underglaze, decals, overglaze and gold luster. Inspired by Ancient Greek pottery, the vessel depicts a mythical scene in which GamFratesi introduces the Beetle to the gods of Olympus.
REAL BEETLE IN EPOXY
In ‘Real Beetle in Epoxy’, artist Frank Maria reinterprets the Beetle as an archaeological sculpture encrusted with mineral sediments and adorned with original tattoo designs and microlandscapes.
In ‘Metamorfosi’ sound designer Painé Cuadrelli has created an immersive audiovisual installation that turns human soundbites, hard percussion, and natural sounds into a melodic composition that depicts the birth and evolution of the Beetle, from pupa to beautifully developed creature.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF SEATING
‘A Brief History of Seating’ is a series of ten original ink drawings by graphic designer and illustrator Martin Groch, composing a narrative that positions the Beetle in the context of its most illustrious predecessors, icons of international design.
Creative director Matthew Demarco has produced the exhibition signage to commemorate the Beetle’s anniversary.
Architect Rachaporn Choochuey’s interpretation of the Beetle is inspired by the climate, traditions, and culture of Asia. Her installation, ‘Flying Beetles’, is rooted in the relationship between exterior and interior, and takes inspiration from Thai street culture, markets, and openair seating, with reference to the winged insects found in Thailand’s national parks.
Fashion designer Simon Wick offers up a ‘(di)ssected Beetle’. The deconstructed seat is reassembled with layers of GUBI’s surplus textiles and upholstery offcuts, as well as packaging materials such as cardboard and plastic.