Atang Tshikare, India Mahdavi and Nendo reinterpret Dior’s Medallion chair

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Seventeen designers presented their own versions of the Medallion chair from the fashion house Dior, including glass and polyurethane chairs as well as a seat designed to be appreciated by the visually impaired as well.


On display for Maison Dior as part of Milan Design Week, the chairs were shown shrouded in the haze of a smoke machine in a basement room, as well as in the garden of the 18th-century Palazzo Citterio. in the Brera district of Milan.

Above: The 17 chairs were presented at Palazzo Citterio. Top image: Nendo reinterpreted the curved glass chair

The 17 designers who took part in the Dior Medallion exhibition created furniture that ranged from faithful interpretations of the Medallion chair to wilder designs with intertwined legs and backs that seemed to have been blown away by a strong wind.

Among the designers who showcased their chairs was Atang Tshikare, who created Dinaledi, a beaded chair that was handmade by a group of women from the Xhosa people in Cape Town, South Africa.

The Dinaledi chair by Atang Tshikare
Atang Tshikare chair is made of embossed leather and pearls

It also features a heavy vegan tanned leather seat and back with hollow celestial designs, which were chosen because the stars were symbolic both for Dior founder Christian Dior and for Tshikare himself.

“Basically there are two different models,” Tshikare told Dezeen. “On the backrest is the northern hemisphere and the other is the southern hemisphere. These are both celestial patterns that we see in early spring.”

Dior Medallion chairs
Tshikare’s chair, right, was shown next to a chair by Linde Freya Tangelder

The designer hoped that the stars on the chair, which took more than six months to manufacture, would also allow the chair to be seen by visually impaired people.

“I wanted to stress that as artists and designers we don’t always include everyone when it comes to experiencing our work,” he said.

“I realized that some people don’t see the stars physically, because they are visually impaired in some way. This embossing would help bridge the visual gap and, in a way, help people feel. actually the stars. “

Dior Medallion exhibition in Milan
The Medallion chairs were on display in a dark room lit by spotlights

French architect India Mahdavi also turned to local artisan techniques for his five Medallion chairs.

Each was made using Kashmiri Indian craftsmanship and together “form a united tribe despite their individuality”.

Chairs in the Dior Medallion exhibition
India Mahdavi chairs were made using Indian artisan techniques

While Mahdavi and Tshikare’s designs retain the recognizable oval shape of the Medallion chair – a symbol of Louis XVI style and the chair Christian Dior used to seat guests at fashion shows – other designs designed more unusual versions. from the chair.

The Japanese studio Nendo has reinterpreted the Medallion chair as a “graceful fusion of modernity and tradition”.

The resulting chair is made from curved sheets of glass that have been immersed in molten potassium nitrate salt at 450 degrees Celsius and then chemically hardened by cooling.

An oval cutout at the back of the chair is an almost ghostly reminder of the original chair, as it is shaped like the classic backrest of the Medallion chair.

Nendo chair designs for Dior
Nendo glass chairs are available in different colors

Ma Yansong, founder of the architecture studio MAD, also reinvented the shape of the Medallion chair for the show.

His two 3D printed polyurethane chairs, called Meteor, aimed to transport the chair into the future.

“By traveling through time, the chair is taken in motion,” the studio said of the pieces, which appear to have been taken in a breeze.

Ma Yangsong chairs for Maison Dior
Ma Yansong designed her chairs to look like “traveling through time”

Designer Sam Baron has also branched out, interpreting the chair as an outdoor swing and double rocking chair as well as a group of stylized seats connected to each other by their entangled backrests.

The other designers participating in the Dior Medallion Chair exhibition were Nacho Carbonell, Pierre Charpin, Dimore Studio, Khaled El Mays, Martino Gamper, Constance Guisset, Joy de Rohan Chabot, Linde Freya Tangelder, Seungjin Yang, Jinyeong Yeon, Tokujin Yoshioka and Pierre Yovanovich.

Sam Baron Dior Medallion chairs
A sofa consisting of joined chairs, a rocking chair and a swing were among Sam Baron’s designs

This year’s Milan Design Week saw a number of brands return to Milan for the first Salone del Mobile and Design Week since 2019.

Among the creations on display were the installation Bamboo Ring by Kengo Kuma and OPPO, a collaboration between Muji and ÉCAL, and a collection of candle holders created by contemporary designers for a charitable project.

Designers and exhibitors attending Design Week this year said it provided a quieter and more meaningful experience reminiscent of the early editions of the event.

The photograph is by Alessandro Garofalo.


The Dior Medallion chair was presented from September 5 to 10 as part of Milan Design Week. Check out the Dezeen Events Guide for an up-to-date list of architecture and design events happening around the world.



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