The white plastic garden armchair, with pronounced arms and a stackable, one-piece back, is an object as neutral as it is widely used. Found in suburban cafes, schoolyards and various gathering places, it is produced in numerous variations by thousands of manufacturers. Its large-scale presence stems from the fact that the original design was never patented; in fact, no one knows who its creator is.
Pierre Castignola (1995), a young Dutch designer graduated at the Design Academy in Eindhoven, chose this armchair with no intellectual property as his object of study, becoming the protagonist of his project titled Copytopia. Through a creative process of cuts and decompositions, the artist reassembles parts of chairs with different shapes together, creating a unique, cubist-looking design object.
Pierre Castignola reasons about the principle of copyright and examines the difficult relationship between patent law and the freedom to create. According to the designer, creative people are restricted by copyright law, most of which is owned by large corporations, thus claiming the freedom of artists.
Also selecting other everyday objects and incorporating them into his own projects, Castignola ideas critical designs that combine the everydayness with research.
Pierre’s attention to semiotics and symbolism is made explicit in his choice of the plastic armchair, which arouses a nostalgic feeling in the audience, hitting our memory pool. The viewer immediately recognizes the form and easily interprets it because of the emotional closeness that the object evokes.
Among the various memories, one cannot miss the splintered or legless, broken or cracked chair that, without hesitation, was thrown away to be replaced. The precarious and fragile aspect is highlighted by Castignola, who makes his pieces through the use of elements that appear as broken, then united together by large screws. The works take on an almost robotic, mechanical form that projects the modern archetype into the future. In this way, the Dutch designer succeeds in activating attention to consumerism and its consequences, emphasizing the need to approach reuse practices that, through art and creativity, can take on stimulating nuances.