May 22, 2019

Gaetano Pesce’s Up Chair Gets Seven New Colorways for Its 50th Anniversary

The special 50th anniversary limited edition of the Up5_6 features retro beige and petrol green stripes. Photography courtesy of B&B Italia.

Some know it by its given name, Up5_6; others, by “La Mamma.” Monikers aside, there’s no denying that Gaetano Pesce’s anthropomorphic armchair-ottoman duo endures as an icon of 1960s design. For its 50th anniversary, B&B Italia has introduced seven new colorways.

New to the series are six solid colorways—orange, red, navy blue, petrol green, emerald green, and cardamom—as well as a special 50th anniversary limited edition featuring retro beige and petrol green stripes that hark back to the palette of Up5’s 1969 debut.

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B&B Italia’s Milan Showroom display for the special 50th Anniversary edition of the Up5_6 chair. Photography courtesy of B&B Italia.

These new colorways come almost 20 years after the Italian manufacturer’s 2000 reissue of the chair. Unlike Pesce’s vacuum-packed, inflatable original, B&B Italia’s Up5 is formed of cold-shaped polyurethane foam and upholstered in the company’s proprietary technical stretch fabric.

Though five decades have passed since Up5_6’s debut at the Milan Furniture Fair, the symbolism behind its imagery—which fuses the form of a fertility goddess with a prisoner’s ball-and-chain—retains its relevance.

Original 1969 image of the Gaetano Pesce-designed Up5 chair. Photography by Klaus Zaugg, courtesy of B&B Italia.

“I was telling a personal story about how I see the woman: despite herself, the woman has always been her own prisoner. And so I wanted to give this armchair a feminine form with a ball at the foot,” says Pesce. “The issue of male violence towards women had only just started being talked about at the time. Back then, I thought that this serious sign of incivility, which was happening all over the world, would have lessened with time, Unfortunately, however, that was not the case.”

Navy Blue is one of the new colorways for B&B Italia’s 50th Anniversary edition of Up5_6. Photography courtesy of B&B Italia.

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