On the occasion of Supersalone in September 2021, Molteni & C presented a special installation by Ron Gilad, inspired by the glamour of air travel and celebrating the reissue of Gio Ponti’s ‘D.154.5’ chair, also known as the ‘Round’ chair.

Molteni & C at Supersalone

For this special event, architect Stefano Boeri invited Italian and international furniture brands to take part in a curated exhibition (replacing the traditional Salone Del Mobile set-up for a one-off edition), creating thematic and scenographic displays to present their work in public for the first time in 18 months, following the restrictions of the pandemic.

Responding to the brief of creating a spectacular installation, Molteni & C’s Flight D.154.5 looked to 1950s airline aesthetics, inspired by the history of the ‘Round’ chair, which was used in the Alitalia offices in Manhattan (1958), as well as the Alitalia passenger terminal in Milan (1960). 

Gilad neatly arranged the seats in a double line alongside a wall with circular openings, small window-like digital screens revealing a fantasy world where Molteni icons floated on pink clouds. Guests were invited to linger on the chairs, to enjoy the multisensory experience complete with passenger announcements and flight attendants. 

‘D.154.5’ by Gio Ponti

Gio Ponti’s ‘D.154.5’ was first conceived in 1954 (with production beginning two years later), a time when the Italian architect and designer explored innovative solutions to design and manufacture functional furniture pieces.

The chair’s revolutionary design is a perfect example of Ponti’s vision, featuring two soap-like forms arranged into a simple seat and back configuration – resulting in an avant-garde silhouette. Its frame was made of just eight parts (backrest, seat, two curved plywood elements, and four legs that were screwed into the seat and held everything together). 

For the Supersalone installation, the chair was carefully reproduced in collaboration with Gio Ponti Archives, whose curator Salvatore Licitra described the design as ‘holding together all the energy, positivity and enthusiasm’ of the 1960s.

Similarly, Ron Gilad and Molteni & C wanted to bring back some of that optimism. In a time of ongoing uncertainty, for a brief moment Molteni & C invited us to take a fantasy trip, to imagine and dream of new experiences – and while the installation was temporary, the sensations that it celebrated will certainly live on. §