Recently one of our readers/commentators wondered out loud about one negative aspect of good design. âToo bad none of it is affordable,â commented Jeff. âAlas thatâs why thereâs IKEA.â
It certainly is true that great design tends to come at an even greater cost, but this is not always so. And Jeffâs comment immediately made me think of one whimsical, functional objet dâart that is the perfect balance of collectibility and affordability: Eero Aarnioâs âPuppyâ.
Eero Aarnioâs abstract âPuppyâ is well known to many design conscious adults as a coveted piece of modern art that harks back to the Pop era. But to kids itâs just a playful multipurpose toy that incorporates simple shapes, durable radial plastic tubing, vibrant colors and lots of imagination.
Mr. Aarnio has been designing sculptural objects that serve as furniture pieces for some time now. His 1966 âBall Chairâ has garnered unwanted flattery in the form of numerous imitators producing fakes (there is a section of his website specifically dedicated to the subject), while his 1971 âTomato Chairâ is so ergonomically unique, few have tried to produce a copy.
Never short on humor, Eero Aarnio has also produced collection of seats that fit any kids room. In 1973 he conceived the âPonyâ seat, about which he said: âA chair is a chair, is a chair, is a chair … but a seat does not necessarily have to be a chair. It can be anything as it is ergonomically correct. A seat could even be a small and soft Pony on which you can ‘ride’ or sit sideways.” He followed âPonyâ in 2002 with the âTIPIâ, a birdlike seat even more odd than its predecessor.
Today Aarnio puppies have been unleashed as part of the Magis âMe Tooâ collection. And the artist has also recently released a limited-run version of âPuppyâ in pink. When compared with El Ultimo Gritoâs âMicoâ chair (137.00 plus 17.5% VAT), âPuppyâ is a steal at around fifty bucks (depending on the dayâs currency exchange rate) â and donât even think about pricing an original âPonyâ or âTIPIâ.
âPuppyâ is made of polyethylene, which in its conventional form is not so great for the environment. But you canât necessarily blame Mr. Aarnio as heâs been working with plastics before the terms âenvironmentalâ and âconsciousnessâ were being used frequently in the same sentence. My only hope is that his medium of choice is recycled polyethylene â the kind popular with eco-conscious artists. Then Iâd be able to get a bargain price on guilt-free good design at somewhere other than the flat-pack superstore.