Chimera, Mezzachimera

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If it is true that for Magistretti design is a conceptual process that "can be communicated over the telephone", the Chimera lamp and its derivative table lamp Mezzachimera, are an emblematic example of this concept, as he himself claimed: "A very simple geometric shape with three cylinders in semi-transparent plastic material. I remember having described it over the telephone without any drawing. Geometry and an extremely simple communication system. After about ten days, I was brought the lamp to my studio."

Chimera, designed in 1966, together with the Selene chair that was developed that same year, represents a project whose configuration depends on the resistance of the shape of the material: a sheet of opalescent methacrylate is heat-pressed into a snake-like configuration that makes it self-standing. It creates a luminous man-size sculpture emitting diffused light (in the case of Chimera). The methacrylate sheet acting as a diffuser is fixed onto a metal base painted white and the light intensity is adjustable through a dimmer.

The lamp, designed by Magistretti concomitantly to other furnishings and produced by Artemide in Reglar (a thermosetting plastic material consisting of glass fibres impregnated with polyester resins), is part of the technological research process on which the company, which started out as a small artisanal enterprise, had put its stakes while converting it into an industrial dimension, always assisted by the quality of the projects of the designers that Artemide turned to.

technical data

Methacrylate. Opalescent white

Metal. Painted white (for the base)

cm. 180 x 22

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A. Tassinari, Incontro con Vico Magistretti, in Cinquemattoni 4, aprile 1973

La forma della funzione, in Design Habitat, settembre 1973

A. de Angelis, I classici del design, in Gap Casa 151, marzo 1999

Artemide: modern classic, in Abitare 383, aprile 1999

V. Magistretti, Appunti manoscritti, ottobre 2004

F. Irace, V. Pasca, Vico Magistretti architetto e designer, Milano, Electa 1999, pp./nn. 135

AAVV, Five Maestros of Lighting design, Lightopia, Weil am Rhein, Vitra Design Museum 2014, pp./nn. 21-26

AAVV, Vico Magistretti. Intuizioni concettuali tra modernità e tradizione, Milano, RCS 2016, Lezioni di Architettura e Design, pp./nn. 36-38

M. T. Feraboli, Vico Magistretti, Milano, Il Sole 24 Ore 2011, pp./nn. 58-61

V. Pasca, Vico Magistretti. L'eleganza della ragione, Milano, Idea Books 1991, pp./nn. 65

project profile by Rosa Chiesa