Dezeen Magazine

Moroso's Spring to Mind exhibition celebrates 25 years of creative collaboration with Ron Arad

Milan 2016: Moroso has transformed its Milan showroom into an exhibition space filled with products by Ron Arad, marking a longstanding relationship between the Italian company and the Israeli designer (+ slideshow).

Spring to Mind by Moroso and Ron Arad

Spring to Mind chronicled Ron Arad's involvement with the Udine-based furniture brand, which was established by the parents of current creative director Patrizia Moroso in 1952.

After graduating from the University of Bologna in the late 1980s, Patrizia Moroso was beginning to put her stamp on the furniture brand when she approached Arad about collaborating.

Spring to Mind by Moroso and Ron Arad
A mirrored installation reflected the various forms of Ron Arad-designed furniture

"Moroso developed at the same time as I developed," Arad told Dezeen at the opening of the show. "It was a family upholstery company when Patrizia came back from university and she changed the company."

"She began something and I began something," he added.

Spring to Mind by Moroso and Ron Arad
Ron Arad's Spring Collection for Moroso was displayed on stands at different heights in the exhibition space

This initial approach led to Arad's 1991 Spring Collection for the brand, featuring an upholstered version of his Big Easy armchair, which was originally handcrafted out of metal.

The importance of the Spring Collection to both Arad and Moroso was emphasised visually on the ground floor of the exhibition space in Milan, with various furniture items from it presented on podiums at different heights.

Spring to Mind by Moroso and Ron Arad
Ron Arad's designs were presented in chronological order at the exhibition, including his No Spring Chicken chair and the Soft Little Heavy chair

"For me, it was the very first important collection with an international designer," Patrizia Moroso told Dezeen. "He was famous as a sort-of artist more than a designer in the industry, but he did for us the first industrial collection."

"By that I mean reproducible pieces," she continued. "Until that moment he did a lot of one-off pieces or limited editions. It was a fantastic beginning for me in design."

Spring to Mind by Moroso and Ron Arad

Spotlights highlighted the form of each piece of furniture from the Spring Collection in the darkened exhibition space, while frames from the London-based designer's Ripple chair for the Italian brand were fixed to the ceiling above.

An LED wall pulsating in bright blue and red welcomed visitors and ushered them along further into the space from the entranceway. Once inside, a video comprising illustrations by Javier Mariscal played on a continuous loop.

Videos of illustrations by Javier Mariscal played on a continuous loop in the exhibition

Also featured on the ground floor was a large box, where visitors could peer through gaps into a mirrored void that created overlapping shapes and forms of Arad's furniture.

Upstairs, the chronological story of Arad and Moroso's collaboration was told in a series of products and prototypes. Each exhibit detailed information about the given design alongside various sketches and context.

Ron Arad's Three Nuns stool was based on his Two Nuns Bike, which featured sprung steel loops

Among the products included was Arad's Three Nuns stool, which was based on the Two Nuns Bike he designed with sprung steel loops instead of spokes and tyres.

The stool was made using strips of tempered steel connected using butterfly nuts and sat beside the bicycle that informed its design in the exhibition.

Ron Arad created his Rover Chair in 1981, after he grew tired of his job in architecture

Other products featured in the exhibition included early designs by Arad, including his 1981 Rover Chair that he made after growing tired of his job at an architect's practice in north London.

"With Ron's products, you can never say that it belongs to the 1980s or that it is an old style because it's Ron," said Patrizia Moroso. "His touch in design is not only free, but absolutely personal."

The exhibition took place from 12 to 17 April 2016 during Milan design week, where furniture brand Grufram also celebrated an anniversary with an exhibition of its best-known products.

Spring to Mind by Moroso and Ron Arad
Ron Arad at the Spring to Mind exhibition in Milan

As part of a series of exclusive movies filmed for Moroso, Arad told Dezeen the story behind his first collection for the Italian brand, which he says helped it become "one of the leading firms in contemporary furniture".

More recently, Patrizia Moroso revealed the "hidden heart" of Moroso in an exclusive factory tour.

Installation photography is by Alessandro Paderni.