First Chair (Prototype)
by Michele De Lucchi for Memphis


Artist/Designer: Michele De Lucchi
b. 1951, Ferrara, Italy
Title: First Chair (Prototype) 1983 
Medium: Painted wood, metal and rubber
Dimensions: 35"h x 23" x 19.5" 
Manufacturer: Memphis/Milano
Details: The production version of this chair uses high gloss polyester paint finishes on the seat, back and arms. Here the color is simply painted, with the grain of the wood still very obvious beneath the paint. In this version, the attachment of the seat to the metal frame is with only a few clips and screws. Good condition, with some minor surface scratches. Only one available.
Notes from the Archive: The First chair is the most popular product of all the designs included in the Memphis collection. In 1983, when the first handful arrived in the US, there was true hope and optimism that New Design and especially Memphis would finally be widely accepted and suitable for furnishing all interiors. In the beginning, visitors were almost afraid to sit on the chair and try it out, as it looked so different with balls where the armrests should be and a circular disk for a back. "Could this be comfortable?" they would inquire. We would show them "how to sit" with a bit of a slouch, with the ends of their elbows resting on the top of the balls and how to move the flexible backrest to add comfort for their upper back. Grace Designs, the Sottsass-designed Memphis showroom in the World Trade Center in Dallas, air freighted about ten of the First chair prototypes from their premiere at the 1983 Milan International Furniture Fair, just in time for the July Dallas Market. This is one of the few surviving samples in excellent condition. This particular prototype travelled with the Memphis/Milano exhibition opening at the Memphis Museum of Art and finishing at the Cooper-Hewitt Museum in New York City.
Shipping Notes: White Glove Service will be required. Please contact us to make final shipping arrangements.
Related Products: Production version is still available. Please inquire.

Sold Out

sign up to receive exclusive updates from

the modern archive

here’s some of what you’ll get