Jeweller, sculptor, printmaker, furniture designer and philosopher. Harry Bertoia was a true artist.
His career was that of exploration in multiple disciplines, each informing the other. His furniture is like sculpture; his jewellery, a drawing.
Bertoia was born and grew up in Italy. Even as a teen his artistic talent was noticed. All the local brides would ask Bertoia to design their wedding linen. Little did they know that their youthful friend would become a household name in America.
Bertoia's father took him to America to visit his elder brother. Here, he changed his birth name from Arieto to Harry and began formal training at various art schools.
After the war there was a scarcity of materials so Bertoia spent the early years of his making career designing jewellery. He even made the wedding rings for Charles and Ray Eames!
Bertoia moved to California in 1950 to work with Charles Eames. They experimented with molded ply. These formative tests were the beginings of what we know and love as the Eames Chair. Sadly, Bertoia was given no credit for this design.
Florence Knoll invited Bertoia to Pensylvania to design furniture for their lable Knoll Inc. Here he finally had free license to create whatever he so desired and he recieved full credit and generous payment for his efforts.
It was in this hot-house of creativity that Bertoia designed his famous 'Diamond Chair' from welded wire. "If you look at these chairs, they are mainly made of air, like sculpture. Space passes right through them."