Belgian designer and interior architect Maarten Van Severen was an idiosyncratic figure on the international design scene. His work was noted for its intense engagement with a few basic furniture types, such as the chair, table, chaise longue, shelving and cabinet, for which he developed fundamental solutions.
Like Jean Prouvé, Van Severen regarded his experiments in the workshop and his close physical contact with the materials to be a vital element of the design process. This was the reason why, up until the mid 90s, when he started working with industrial partners, he produced all his designs in the workshop that he had set up in 1987.
This included the CNº II chair (later .02), introduced in 1992. This chair, with its simplicity of form, has a seat and backrest crafted from a continuous piece of material – a sheet of aluminium or thin plywood – set on an aluminium base. The CNº II formed the basis for his subsequent collaboration with Vitra to develop the .03 chair, which was introduced to the market in 1998 and marked his international emergence as a designer.
For over two decades, the Vitra Design Museum has been making miniature replicas of milestones in furniture design from its collection. The Miniatures Collection encapsulates the entire history of industrial furniture design – moving from Historicism and Art Nouveau to the Bauhaus and New Objectivity, from Radical Design and Postmodernism all the way up to the present day. Exactly one sixth the size of the historical originals, the chairs are all true to scale and precisely recreate the smallest…