27 October 2020
An XL spinning top. One that’s kept on rotating, incessantly, all around the world for the last ten years. That, in essence, is Spun, which became an instant contemporary design icon after its debut at the 2010 Salone del Mobile.Milano. It was immediately put to the test by the myriad young visitors packed inside the SaloneSatellite spaces - where some pieces “offered” for the occasion helped to generate a happy and extraordinary mood inside the pavilions. Swiftly thereafter, Spun found its way into international interiors and exteriors, was selected for the ADI Design Index in 2011 and awarded the Compasso d’Oro in 2014 “for having recreated an everyday object in an ironic and entertaining way.”
Succinctly described on the Magis website as “a spinning lounge chair in a rotational moulded polyethylene material,” the Veneto-based company has turned British designer and architect Thomas Heatherwick’s creative imaginings into a functional sculpture. Faithful to its company DNA, which has driven it to keep redrawing the frontiers of design since 1976, from searching for new ideas to new vocabularies and innovative production methods. Design and engineering have joined forces here, from the lengthy prototyping and testing period onwards, sparking a close dialogue between creator and producer, and culminating in a decidedly innovative solution, and one with an artistic spirit, what’s more.
With a 91 cm diameter and a seat height of 78 cm, decreasing to 44 cm when inclined, Spun is primarily reminiscent of a bobbin wrapped around with yarn (hence its name). Others might be reminded of something that turns on an axis, such as a vase taking shape on a potter’s wheel, or those blessed with vivid imaginations might find their thoughts turning to the mystical world, seeing something of the famous wailing dervishes in the frenetic rotation.
Visual effects aside, it has to be said that it really is an unusual chair. The evocative spinning top shape comprises an all-in-one seat, backrest and frame. The base is a small circle that grows larger as it rises upwards, describing the characteristic profile, while forming a stabilising ring halfway up which prevents it from overturning, in a clever balance of centripetal and centrifugal force.
Made from a single piece of polyethylene, turned 360° during the rotational moulding process, the chair combines perfect functionality with high strength. What’s more, being totally insulated and ultra-hard-wearing, the seat is also ideal for the outdoors. Requiring very little care – just soap and water – the chair comes in white, purple, red, anthracite grey and an anthracite/pale grey mix.
While still being a curious object today, it is a source of good fun and new sensations, providing a 360° view of the world and a reminder of the pleasure of rocking, which our grandparents enjoyed so much. Watch out, though – this is not a chair for the elderly!