Know Your Chairs: The UP 5 And 6 Or "Donna" Chair


Gaetano Pesce created this chair for B&B Italia (then known as C&B Italia) in 1969 out of polyurethane foam and a jersey stretch fabric. Primarily an architect, Pesce is also an industrial designer working on creating chairs with organic forms. His UP5 and 6 Chair--5 is the chair and 6 is the attached ottoman--is also known as the "La Mama Chair" or the "Donna Chair" (donna being the Italian word for woman) because the form is unmistakably female. The chair is still in production through B&B Italia who describe the chair this way:

"The chair is a metaphor of a large comfortable womb and recalls ancient statues of fertility goddesses. However, it has something extra: a spherical ottoman tied to the armchair. Therefore, the image of comfort and convenience is combined with a more figurative image of a woman with a ball and chain on her foot. Gaetano Pesce explains the project as follows: 'At that time, I was telling a personal story about my concept of women: I believe that women have always been unwilling prisoners of themselves. This is why I decided to give this armchair the shape of a woman with a ball and chain, a traditional image of a prisoner.'"

Perhaps what Pesce more accurately means is that women, by being themselves, have always been prisoners of men.


Happy designing!