Calvin Klein’s hayrolling display of quilted Cassina Feltri armchairs at Design Miami/ Basel

Calvin Klein has marked its exhibition debut at Design Miami/Basel
Calvin Klein has marked its exhibition debut at Design Miami/Basel, with ‘An Expansive International Landscape’; featuring a selection of Cassina ’Feltri’ chairs presented against a barnyard scene
(Image credit: Delfino Sisto Legnani,Stefano De Monte)

Calvin Klein has marked its exhibition debut at Design Miami/Basel, with ‘An Expansive International Landscape’; featuring a selection of Cassina 'Feltri' chairs presented against a barnyard scene

This year, a change of structure at Design Miami/ Basel allowed visitors to navigate from the fair to Unlimited, Art Basel’s exhibition displaying large-scale artworks. Marking this structural change and connecting the two shows was one of this edition’s most special projects, serving as a gateway between art and design, celebrating both.

Calvin Klein made its Design Miami debut with the project, titled ‘An Expansive International Landscape’, featuring a combination of design, culture and craftsmanship curated by chief creative officer Raf Simons. For his installation, Simons focused on Feltri, an armchair created by Italian designer Gaetano Pesce for Cassina in 1987 as an ironic take on a royal throne.

The chair’s shape features a thin wool-felt structure, created using a special technique that allows the base (infused with thermosetting resin) to be structurally firm, while the top is soft and enveloping, two flaps of the material sticking out into a now-renowned shape. Simons made great use of the chair’s fluid and soft structure, combining it with a series of one-of-a-kind American heirloom quilts that date to the 19th and 20th centuries, that create what he calls a ‘cultural correspondence’: an eclectic icon of contemporary design meets an emblem of American craft and culture.

Since joining Calvin Klein in 2015, Simons has been on a mission to explore the different guises of the quintessential American spirit. His collection’s have made reference to tropes of US culture, like Hollywood startlets, cartoon characters, masculine heroes and prairie maidens. Quilts have featured predominantly, being used as linings on parkas; carried by models on the catwalk; their graphic  motifs replicated on shirts and flowing dresses.

The 50 pieces are shown in a vast open space, the chairs scattered across a purple carpet anchored by a large-scale barn, concepted by Simons for the CALVIN KLEIN 205W39NYC A/W 2018 runway show, and reconstructed from reclaimed 19th-century wood. Large-scale images of artwork by Andy Warhol feature prominently on the barn’s walls, part of the brand’s ongoing collaboration with The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. The multi-faceted project is evidence of Simons’ ability to merge cultural references and aesthetics, and a perfect fit for Design Miami/Basel: so much so, that all 50 chairs were snapped up on day one. §

See more from Design Miami/ Basel 2018

The exhibition has been anchored with a large-scale barn

The exhibition has been anchored with a large-scale barn, originally concepted by the brand's chief creative officer Raf Simons for the CALVIN KLEIN 205W39NYC A/W 2018 runway show.

(Image credit: Delfino Sisto Legnani, Stefano De Monte)

Under the direction of Simons, the chairs have been upholstered

Under the direction of Simons, the chairs have been upholstered with American heirloom quilts that date back to the 19th and 20th centuries.

(Image credit: Delfino Sisto Legnani,Stefano De Monte)

Arm chair

Quilted designs have been regularly by Simons since he joined Calvin Klein in 2016, and reflect his exploration of the symbols of American culture

(Image credit: Delfino Sisto Legnan,Stefano De Monte)

INFORMATION

For more information, visit the Design Miami/Basel website (opens in new tab); the Calvin Klein website (opens in new tab)

Rosa Bertoli was born in Udine, Italy, and now lives in London. Since 2014, she has been the Design Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees design content for the print and online editions, as well as special editorial projects. Through her role at Wallpaper*, she has written extensively about all areas of design. Rosa has been speaker and moderator for various design talks and conferences including London Craft Week, Maison & Objet, The Italian Cultural Institute (London), Clippings, Zaha Hadid Design, Kartell and Frieze Art Fair. Rosa has been on judging panels for the Chart Architecture Award, the Dutch Design Awards and the DesignGuild Marks. She has written for numerous English and Italian language publications, and worked as a content and communication consultant for fashion and design brands.