Minotti and Rodolfo Dordoni refresh the 1990s Suitcase armchair design

Watch as Rodolfo Dordoni takes us through the evolution of the Suitcase armchair for Minotti

It was in the late 1990s when architect and designer Rodolfo Dordoni first collaborated with Italian furniture behemoths Minotti. As far as creative relationships go, this was certainly one of Minotti‘s most successful. Soon after in 1998, Dordoni took the helm as art director. Now, 22 years on, Dordoni is rethinking one of his most important designs from his Minotti repertoire. ‘It was minimal with a slightly different twist and interpretation,’ Dordoni speaks in the film above of this inaugural design for Minotti, ‘Suitcase’. A sincerely modest yet statement design, it was originally built without thinking about comfort. The brand wanted to realise a cubic armchair, focusing on the geometry of the structure and how it could allude to the silhouette of luggage. Described as ‘provocative’, Suitcase marked a turning point for the brand – Dordoni was ushering a thrilling new energy into the Minotti ethos. Subtle changes have been made to modernise Suitcase into a contemporary piece that launches at Salone del Mobile. Dordoni has been stripped the four chrome feet, securing it firmly to the ground for a cleaner finish. These chrome plates appear to have been given a new purpose: to outline the base of the design on each edge, but with a new brandy-hued finish.

Two brown suitcase design armchairs, grey floor, grey top coffee tables, dark wood wall divide, mirror book case, glass vases, white wall

Archive image of the original Suitcase design

(Image credit: TBC)

Retaining its blocky cube shape meant manufacturing methods for the revolutionary design have not changed much either. Dordoni admires this constant high-quality fabrication: ‘Coherence has been and still is one of Minotti‘s core elements,’ he muses. ‘After more than 20 years we realised that, despite our significant evolution, our character, our rationality and our design approach have not changed. We only made it stronger and stronger over time’.

Unveiling at the Rho fairground, Suitcase’s new 2019 persona ‘Suitcase Line’ arrives in an abundance of opulent fabrics and finishes, allowing this slight yet smart revision to thrive in multiple environments.

White background, tan coloured suitcase design armchair, with a dark brown seat cushion, silver metal trim around the bottom of the chair

The new Suitcase Line in Corten

(Image credit: TBC)

Black ink sketch on white paper, armchair design drawing, gloss images of armchairs, black table top, black pen

(Image credit: TBC)


‘Suitcase Line’ will be on view 9-14 April. For more information, visit the Minotti website

Sujata Burman is a writer and editor based in London, specialising in design and culture. She was Digital Design Editor at Wallpaper* before moving to her current role of Head of Content at London Design Festival and London Design Biennale where she is expanding the content offering of the showcases. Over the past decade, Sujata has written for global design and culture publications, and has been a speaker, moderator and judge for institutions and brands including RIBA, D&AD, Design Museum and Design Miami/. In 2019, she co-authored her first book, An Opinionated Guide to London Architecture, published by Hoxton Mini Press, which was driven by her aim to make the fields of design and architecture accessible to wider audiences.