The collection
Black armchair with angular tubular-steel frame, perforated metal seat, and horizontal cylindrical cushion for the back.

Armchair, Seconda

Designed by
Mario Botta (born 1953)
Epoxy-painted tubular steel, perforated sheet steel, polyurethane foam, rubber, upholstery
Produced by
Alias, Milan, Italy, for International Contract Furnishings, New York, New York
73 x 52 x 59.5 cm

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Liliane and David M. Stewart Collection, gift of Luc d’Iberville-Moreau, D85.120.1

Swiss modernist architect Mario Botta has designed furniture for his building commissions as well as for production. His elegant furniture and architecture are characterized by geometry, formal order, and structural clarity. The Seconda armchair follows an earlier armless version called Prima. For Botta, the language of the Bauhaus was still relevant, seen in the reductivist geometric form.

The chair’s black metal skeleton and the counterpoint of its crisp lines and the geometric forms of its seat and back evoke the austerity of modernism, and the overall form mimics Mies van der Rohe’s tubular-steel furniture from half a century earlier. Although it appears uncomfortable, its seat is flexible perforated metal, and its cylindrical back is composed of two soft foam cushions.

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, photo: Giles Rivest.