1957 Club 44 / History
Club 44 brings us to Switzerland. To Chaux-de-Fonds to be precise. Originally designed in 1957 for the renovated Club 44, it is a decidedly architectural armchair, still strikingly individual and totally functional. Fully stable, surprisingly comfortable, severe but with character, its seat design stems from the “Cavalletto” system, of which it is an ideal but more unusual continuation. Here the classic inverted V pattern that characterizes the system becomes the profile of a leg at the top from which the arm finds its ideal point of support.
Mangiarotti’s links to Switzerland, hark back to the 2nd World War. Given his political background, in 1943, just 22 years old and just a few exams into his architectural studies at the Milan Polytechnic, he crossed the Swiss border seeking asylum from the Mussolini regime.
While in Switzerland, Mangiarotti meets Ernesto Nathan Rogers from BBPR, one of the first Italian architectural collectives placing teamwork above individuals. Through Rogers, he is introduced to Max Bill, who, in turn, invites him to teach at the IIT. In Chicago Mangiarotti has contacts with Mies van der Rohe and Konrad Wachsmann, one of the fathers of prefabrication and mass production of architectural components. Both encounters had a huge influence on Angelo Mangiarotti’s work in the years to come.
He is offered to stay and teach abroad, yet he comes back to Milan and teams up with Bruno Morassutti. All of a sudden the pieces fall in place and in the same year of the renovation Club 44, two other architectural masterpieces see the light: the Mater Misericordiae Church in Baranzate and the Manzoni Apartment in Milan.