Pratone chair is an iconic piece of postmodern Italian furniture design. It was designed in 1971 by Giorgio Ceretti, Piero Derossi and Riccardo Rosso for GUFRAM. This sculptural, environmentally-adjacent design is based on a biological reference: grass.
The concept of the Pratone chair is to challenge traditional design values. In a bid to break free from habitual behaviors, this sculptural seat uses a pliable polyurethane foam to create an unpredictable seating situation. However, it is not the only one that takes this approach.
The Pratone chaise longue is another defining piece of Italian design. A small sized version of this chair is available as Pratone Forever. It is meant for modern homes with smaller spaces. There are three color options for this sculptural chair.
Originally, the Pratone chaise lounge consisted of a large square base with 42 green stems attached to it. Each blade was painted with Guflac, an exclusive patent of Gufram. With each move of the blades, the grass-like structure transforms into a seat.
Gufram has released a special edition Nordic Pratone. This is the company's 50th anniversary project. Although it looks and feels like the original, the design is slightly scaled down. At the same time, it maintains the surreal aesthetic of the original. Designed to fit in contemporary spaces, the new version carries all the virtues of the original while taking a few shortcuts.
Like the original, the Nordic Pratone is crafted from a pliable polyurethane polymer that is both stable and pliable. It is also made from a boucle fabric that is stretchy and elastic. Finally, it features 25 stams rather than the classic 42. Moreover, it is only 30 percent smaller than the original.
One of the biggest draws of the Pratone is that it is not made of concrete, or a hard plastic, but of polyurethane foam. Polyurethane is a pliable, durable material that has a soft feel. As such, it is able to provide a comfortable seat that is very easy to clean.
While the original version was produced in 200 pieces, the company has now made a scaled-down version that is available in a limited edition of 50. The original Pratone chaise longue is included in the 100 masterpieces of the history of design displayed in the Vitra Design Museum.
The Pratone chair is a revolutionary design idea. From its use of a nontraditional material for industrial production, to its innovative functionality, the design was a major breakthrough for the 1970s. Eventually, it became a design icon and became a reference in Pop art.
The Pratone chair is also an example of how a seemingly random design can be a landmark in the history of design. In fact, it was selected as the most important modern design experiment. To make it work, it was designed with precise inclination towards series composition.
Nevertheless, the Pratone chair was also created as a response to the hippie revolution against gluttonous consumer society. In fact, it was part of the Synesis Idee 70 competition, which asked designers to produce a design that is able to subvert canons of bourgeois home furnishings and rigid rules of conduct.