H* Chairs

The work behind the the H*Collection is a voyage beyond time and space and a tribute to Shanghai: original Art Decò chair of the shanghai Golden Era, dressed with 1930ies Qipaos and upholstered with ancient italian techniques. Monica Bertini’s H*Collection presents an aesthetic but conceptual vision on how the past still permeates furniture and matter: the H*Chairs mainly have original Art Decò frames, and a distinguishing characteristic: they wear 1930s Shanghainese Qipao; collected with passion and care, these rare dresses still vibrate with life and bring back the spirit of Shanghai retrò-glam. Developed in Shanghai around 1900 after the Qing Dynasty fell and a freer dress code was allowed, the Qipao was soon tailored to become more fitting and revealing. Between the two World Wars, while the ‘Paris of the East’ was blooming with multicultural extravaganza, high-class brothels redesigned it to be body hugging with side slits for their mistresses. It later became in fashion for high society Ladies. “Found in the outskirts of Shanghai between 2007 and 2008, each piece has represented a long journey into Shanghai’s history of Decor and Fashion, and a ‘Closing Circle’ after 6 intense years in the city. A Tribute to Shanghai, to its Charming Ladies and to the brave foreigners who experienced such radical voyage to earn a new living.” Each part of the project has been important, from the complete dismantling of the chairs and restructuring of the woods, to the re-building of the structures: 8 knots technique, extra layers of class A natural materials: coconut fiber, fine horsetail hair, natural latex, cotton and wool, and the last special layer of ultra-fine bamboo fiber for its therapeutic properties, and a China touch. Ancient techniques learnt in Florence and Rome and almost disappeared. The work is supported and documented by ‘work in progress’ images The H*Chairs emerge as an imaginative and playful response to a cinematic experience: like a small casting each dress was selected to match or contrast, and re-create a story around the chair. Monica Bertini is an artist designer. Inspired by Shanghai’s charming history that permeates furniture, she is also interested in the transformation and fluxus on matter.

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