Screen Stars

Following the success of their first joint collection at last year’s Milan furniture fair, Cappellini and Disney have again joined forces, creating an innovative armchair inspired by the futuristic world of Tron

Collaborative projects between well known brands can involve striking a delicate balance, especially when those brands have such strongly defined and highly individual identities as Cappellini and Disney. Walt Disney Signature is an adult lifestyle brand off erring fashion, decor and accessories inspired by Disney movies. Its latest collaborative venture with Cappellini is the Tron armchair, designed by Dror Benshetrit. Giulio Cappellini, art director at Cappellini, says: ‘We are both large companies working in a familial way. Our philosophies are very similar.’

Launched in conjunction with the release of Disney blockbuster Tron: Legacy, the chair is a sculptural piece inspired by the futuristic film, both in terms of aesthetics and manufacture. To recreate the jagged edges and asymmetric angles in the film’s landscape, a huge rotational moulding machine was built at the Cappellini factory. It enabled the irregular shape to be made without seams, produced in 100 per cent recycled and weatherproof plastic and with a range of colour and texture possibilities. ‘Innovation was key to this project,’ Cappellini says. ‘The product really had to tell a story.’ This technique also meant the piece could be made in large numbers — important to Disney, which likes to reach a wide audience. ‘We always aimed for this to be a catalogue piece, not a limited edition,’ Cappellini says. ‘We’re not interested in best sellers, only long sellers.’

The relationship between the two brands began in 2008, when Disney approached Cappellini to work on its Signature line. Last March, the industry was introduced to the alliance when it created an installation for the Dining By Design DIFFA (Design Industries Foundation Fighting Aids) event in New York.

The first collection was launched last April in Milan and comprised five products, including the Multicolour Rive Droite chair, designed by Nourget, and the Mickey Ribbon stool by Nendo. The products, with their vibrant colours, contemporary lines and a strongly stylised feel, find a common ground in the aesthetics of both Disney and Cappellini.

The latest project goes one step further. Working within the highly specific stylistic rules of the Tron theme, the project brings together the worlds of film and furniture to make high-end design accessible and relevant to more people. ‘Film mirrors contemporary culture and from this platform we want to represent an outlook on innovation that is very obtainable,’ says Cappellini.

Cappellini says Disney’s ‘underlying design culture’ makes the partnership work. The Walt Disney Signature range is still growing, so collaborative projects such as the Tron armchair and the upcoming installation with DuPont Corian has room for flexibility. Following the official launch of both projects in Milan this April, more projects are on the horizon.,,

This article was first published in idfx Magazine.

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