For many years the Egg chair, designed by Arne Jacobsen and manufactured by Fritz Hansen, has been high on my "most wanted" list. Its simple, graphic shape - a masterful blend of clean lines and inviting comfort - make it a classic that would fit into any home I may live in, anywhere in the world, even as my taste and budget evolve. What's more, it is infinitely easy on the eye - an example of great design that is eternally pleasing yet never imposes itself.
This example, however, takes the Egg to a whole new level. Designed by the artist Tal R as one of a limited edition of 50 unique pieces that Fritz Hansen commissioned to celebrate the chair's 50th anniversary last year, it adds a note of playfulness and cosiness - not to mention colour - to what is normally a sober piece. What's more, it is a genuine work of art that encapsulates the flamboyantly colourful, slightly hippy-trippy, handcrafted look, of Tal R's paintings. The Tel Aviv-born artist, who has lived in Copenhagen ever since going to art school there, has described his art as kolbojnik (a Hebrew word meaning leftovers or jack-of-all-trades) and, by designing the Egg in patchwork, he has captured that feeling.
"The whole point," he said when he completed the Fritz Hansen commission, "was to make a chair that tells a multitude of stories. So the pieces of cloth had to be full of life. It should look a bit as if it was homemade." He sourced the fabrics - many of them vintage - from all over the world: New York, Istanbul, Berlin, second-hand shops in Denmark, and a kibbutz in Israel (from where he obtained washed-out work clothes).
Each of the 50 chairs is made in a unique combination of fabrics and different colour scheme, some vivid, some more softly toned. The brightness and detail of this one make it my favourite. But "desire" this object is probably all I will ever be able to do. The chairs, which are on a touring exhibition around the world, may never be sold, according to Fritz Hansen. And that makes them priceless. In the meantime, I will have to be content with a "regular" Egg chair - at around Dh16,700 ($4,550).
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