Alanda. A famous 1980’s small table gets an homage edition to its creator

Status symbol of a time rich in bold statements, it has a particular reticular basement that recalls a group of upturned pyramids: a motif and a structure highly copied throughout the decade.

Fig.1 Paolo Piva, Alanda, vetro extra light e tondino di acciaio, B&B Italia, 2018

Even though it was one of the most significative pieces of the eighties, so much it is part of the furniture included in American Phycho main character’s living room, the movie taken from the ultimate novel of that decade, what we know about the small table Alanda by Paolo Piva is still very little. It could be that the architect and designer who died last year wasn’t willing to give many explanations; that the limited numbers of Alanda produced by B&B Italia until 1989 were so intentionally low because they wanted to turn it into an instant classic; that the relentless black market who copied the original design blurred its origin for good; that eventually Alanda was too much eighties (and therefore its resume history had to be sealed). But now that the piece is back in retail as an homage to Paolo, the urging of a thorough explanation of its dsign is back. Something usually found, like all design related mythologies, in aspects beyond its mere practical nature. In this 2018 version glass and steel are unequivocally the same as before, as well as the famous pedestals shaped like a group of upturned pyramids.

Now, to make a list of all the pop references where the pyramid made an appearance in those hedonistic years would request for an amount of space far superior to the internet capacity. What could be said, thought, is that perhaps Paolo was the forerunner of this particular motif use. A beginner that paved the way all the way up to I.M. Pei Louvre Pyramid. And the geoditic geometry that characterized both is maybe sustained by the same reason: the magic charm of this ancient shape, like all the postmodernism passion – after all – for the historic reference. But then, once you think about the fact that those were also the years of Las Vegas Luxor Hotel and Bangles Walk like an Egyptian song, another explanation takes over, a more romantic one: that Alanda skeleton structure was an homage by Paolo to the industrial inside-out architecture of B&B Italia headquarters in Novedrate (CO), built by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers in 1972. Trying to find out if it’s true fact or not it will be more challenging than all the secrets of the Sphinx.

The object of the day:
small table Alanda
B&B Italia
Paolo Piva
extra light or smoky glass, black steel
120x120 e 120x180 cm

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