Designed in 1969 by Avant Garde Italian Architect, Gaetano Pesce, the UP 5 has stood the test of time and critics to become one of the most defining moments in the emergence of Italian Furniture design, as we know it today. Representing women in a metaphorical expression, the UP 5 is a carefully created statement by Pesce using a ball and chained female fertility figure to create the image of woman as a prisoner and victim, subservient to male prejudices. The political statement to “Big Mama” as the chair was affectionately called, elevated it to the standard of “work of art”, becoming a landmark in the history of shapes for the 2nd half of the 20th century.
At 122x122x110cm the UP 5 chair is as commanding in this all-wood version as it is in the previous, far more colourful expression of expanded polyurethane foam and fabrics. The fact that the chair is equally powerful in a single hue as it is in a multitude of chaotic pattern is a testament to Pesce’s artistic abilities, and it was this ability of his to explore new materials, colours, and forms within his creations that kick-started the development of expressive Italian Design we have all grown to appreciate as a constant in the country’s modern day creations.