In refined, precise, kaleidoscopic geometry, color bursts forth: yellow, blue, light blue, red, and white layer atop black, a patchwork of inlaid color to transform and define this year’s collection from Italian design powerhouse Porro. The Linea family of containers—two cupboards and a writing desk—is borne of archived drawings from the late postmodernist designer Alessandro Mendini, brought to life by his daughters Fulvia and Elisa Mendini in collaboration with Porro.
Alessandro’s first designs for Porro nearly 10 years ago share his elemental sense of geometry, but an entirely different sense of materiality. For the Schermo cupboard and Maggio chest of drawers, Alessandro played with the true colors of natural elm, oak, and acacia to create inlays of triangles and trapezoids.
In honor of their now late father, Fulvia and Elisa, along with Lorenzo and Maria Porro, identified color as the protagonist of Alessandro’s greater body of work, and the subject of Linea’s exploration. “We identified in the Alessandro Mendini Archive some drawings that had a very advanced level of design,” Fulvia and Elisa said. “These pieces of furniture are really very faithful to the original design.”
The resulting three pieces are the Linea collection, named for the lines that make up its geometric inlays. “The name Linea was chosen because the composition of the volumes and also of the decorations of these pieces of furniture is based on the intersections of a few precise straight lines, whose play in elevation and plan determines the whole aesthetic, the whole functionality of the product,” Alessandro said in 2015.
Porro is known for its mastery of wood, but to achieve the saturated colors and lacquered finish of the inlaid Linea cabinet fronts, the brand turned to a new material to offer greater depth to the hues. With cellulose acetate, a bioplastic most commonly used in glasses frames, Porro was able to create Linea’s pointed and exact geometry of colors.
“With the chromatic exuberance typical of Alessandro Mendini’s design, Linea perfectly expresses all the ingredients of a Porro object: geometric purity, accurate workmanship and technological details,” says Maria Porro, head of marketing and communication and fourth generation of the founding family of Porro S.p.A.
Accordingly, the Linea family anchored Porro’s presence at the London Design Festival, where the brand’s renovated London showroom hosted an exploration of color and design. With Linea as a sort of case study and foundation, its geometric components lining Porro’s iconic Load-it Shelf, the Italian brand let visitors in on the recipe of perfectionism, sensitivity to a space’s spirit, and attentive research that comprises each of its tailored, architectural designs.
The Linea collection includes an open cupboard with an open module and drawer, a closed cupboard with two hinged doors, and a drop-leaf writing desk with an internal partition on a dark base. The three pieces are available in a limited edition of 50 pieces each.