If they gave an award for “most deceiving chair at the fair,” MB1 by Mario Bellini might win. At first glance-from across the room or from an aisle or two over-the chair has an unmistakably sleek but somewhat imposing look. It seems to shout emphatically, “Italian design!” The MB1 also appears a bit institutional, as if it had been lifted out of the office of an advertising agency, circa 1964. (This is a compliment, by the way.)
Moving closer, the chair doesn’t appear to be made of plastic, but it is; and therein lies the chair’s subtle deception. Plastic tends to be either tough and utilitarian or semi-neutral. The MB1, which debuted last month in Milan, is made of an exceptionally accommodating polymer that gives just enough. It seems perfectly calibrated between the material support of plastic and the pliability of a more forgiving material.
The result is, as they say in the ergonomics business, a surprisingly comfortable ride.