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Gabriella Crespi

 

 

In the year that Italian designer Gabriella Crespi would have turned 100, and 50 years after its initial conception, GUBI is putting the Bohemian 72 Collection into production for the first time. The collection is the beginning of a new collaboration with Archivio Gabriella Crespi and reflects the harmony between Crespi’s artistic, bohemian vision and her love of travel and GUBI’s confident curations and global outlook. 

Born in 1922, Italian artist and designer Gabriella Crespi would have turned 100 this year. Throughout her extraordinary career in the design world, she moved effortlessly among both European royalty and the Hollywood jet set. Her indisputable glamour and sophisticated sense of style made her a muse to the fashion designer Valentino, and brought the likes of Audrey Hepburn, Gianni Versace, and Hubert de Givenchy into her social circle.

 

 

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Crespi’s aesthetic was characterized by dualities, pairing modernist functionality with an eye for the baroque, and shifting between clean lines and sensuous curves.

As a designer, it was her gift for streamlined forms and lavish material finishes that won her a dedicated following and saw her become a coveted partner to prestigious fashion houses ranging from Dior to Stella McCartney.

When she died aged 95 in 2017, she left behind a repertoire of more than two thousand pieces, spanning furniture, jewelry, and sculpture – all imbued with an eclectic style that embraced both the organically whimsical and the formally geometric.

Crespi’s daughter Elisabetta Crespi now heads up Archivio Gabriella Crespi. “My mother was utterly Milanese,” she says. “She had extraordinary taste, stemming from her inner passions and bohemian lifestyle. She was naturally elegant and didn’t follow mainstream fashion; instead, she favored a cultivated simplicity in her aesthetic. She was modern, daring - almost radical in her propositions. From her innate alluring qualities to the inviting furniture she designed, everything was sophisticated yet unconventional, with a warm, human, and sensuous feel to it.”

Crespi's refined lounge lifestyle

 

To honor this inspiring and extraordinary woman, GUBI is proud to introduce the Bohemian 72 Collection. Elegant, flexible, and refined, this collection is the distillation of Crespi’s vision of a versatile rattan furniture family for what she called her ‘house of the sun’. The pinnacle of the jet-set bohemian lounge lifestyle, Bohemian 72 brings together Crespi’s interest in natural materials, her fascination with stacked sculptural forms, and her curiosity about Eastern cultures and philosophies, honed over years of travel.

During her lifetime, these exclusive pieces were only ever produced for private clients, but today, 50 years after they were first conceived, GUBI has worked from Crespi’s original drawings to bring an extraordinary collection into production for the first time. In these iconic rattan furniture designs, a worldly Milanese sophistication is conjured from one of nature’s most humble-seeming materials.

Crespi designed the Bohemian 72 Collection in the spring of 1972 from the terrace of her home in Milan. Alongside the renowned ‘Rising Sun’ and ‘Five Positions’ Collections, Bohemian 72 was part of Crespi’s wider ‘Bamboo Collection’, designed between 1972 and 1975. Comprising a lounge chair, three-seater sofa, ottoman and floor lamp, the collection is the culmination of Crespi’s career-long mission to create furniture that seamlessly unites indoor and outdoor living.

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Distinctive and highly luxurious take on lounge furniture

 

Crespi designed the Bohemian 72 Collection in the spring of 1972 from the terrace of her home in Milan. Alongside the renowned ‘Rising Sun’ and ‘Five Positions’ Collections, Bohemian 72 was part of Crespi’s wider ‘Bamboo Collection’, designed between 1972 and 1975. Comprising a lounge chair, three-seater sofa, ottoman and floor lamp, the collection is the culmination of Crespi’s career-long mission to create furniture that seamlessly unites indoor and outdoor living.

Drawn to rattan for its strength and versatility, she conceived these pieces at a time when the material was very much in vogue within the high-society circles in which she moved, viewed as the height of interior sophistication. Her decision to use repeating layers of vertically coiled rattan vines, however, was unusual for the time, and results in a distinctive and highly luxurious take on lounge furniture that has proven truly timeless.

“Gabriella Crespi had a huge talent for navigating the spaces between indoor and outdoor and never let anything block the light and air flowing through her own home. It is our pride and privilege to be bringing the work of such a design icon into production for more people to enjoy.”

 

Marie Kirstine Schmidt, CMO AT GUBI

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Crespi’s love of rattan

 

Crespi’s goal was to create a flexible rattan seating collection that felt equally at home in the city or the country, at the seaside or high on a mountain slope. Her great ambition, she once said, was to create ‘a house of the sun’ – an environment that radiated warmth, light and sophistication. Rattan, with its gentle tones, natural appearance and the way light passes between its canes, is the perfectly material to create such a setting. 

To recreate Crespi’s original designs demands a high level of craftsmanship, as the rattan canes must be steamed and then bent by hand around a die, specially made to the dimensions of her drawings. Because it is a natural material, standardizing rattan is a complex process, and color, texture and dimension differ from vine to vine, introducing another level of skill to the production process.

BOHEMIAN 72 UP CLOSE

Layers of cane form the bases of the lounge chair, three-seater sofa, and ottoman. The floor lamp has a shade formed from a vertical arrangement of rattan strips, with brass detailing. The pattern of the strips allows the lamp to cast a beautifully delicate play of light and shade on the floor around it, evoking an atmosphere of rustic warmth and bohemian sophistication. 

Each member of the collection can stand proudly on its own, but taken as an ensemble, the quartet makes a timeless statement of luxury.

In all four pieces, the bent rattan canes and strips are stained with antique color and finished with a gloss coating to ensure a consistent appearance and a rich and warming natural texture. 

Each of the seats is topped with a lavishly plump cushion that follows the outline of the rattan frame perfectly, based on Crespi’s original drawings. Sleek in form but supremely soft, they introduce a cosseting level of comfort to the collection. This near-decadent focus on indulgence is emphasized in the backrest of the lounge chair, which has a generous 115º incline to encourage even deeper relaxation.

“I am so proud to be working with GUBI to enable my mother’s designs to continue reaching people all over the world,” says Elisabetta Crespi. “I know GUBI’s global outlook would have really appealed to my mother – and I am confident that the public will react enthusiastically to the collection, appreciating GUBI’s keen attention to the design details and materials that were always such a distinguishing trait of my mother’s work.”

 
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“I wanted to create the house of the sun. I couldn’t help but do it with rattan and bamboo, materials of which I’m very fond and that combine strength  and flexibility, the warmth of mellow tones, and the ability to be run through by light. Very long spokes give an impression of the infinite and indeterminate just as cane thickets that rise toward the sky do in nature.”

 

GABRIELLA CRESPI

JET-SET BOHEMIAN LOUNGE LIFESTYLE