When German designer Konstantin Grcic created the MONZA armchair for PLANK in 2009, it was immediately clear that the chair was destined to become a modern classic. Since then, Grcic and PLANK have worked together to apply MONZA’s elegant design and innovative properties to a family of products that meets a variety of important functional needs, with the latest additions unveiled at Salone del Mobile 2017.
When wood meets plastic
Following successful collaborations on the MIURA stool and MYTO chair, Grcic designed the MONZA armchair to utilise PLANK’s expertise in working with both wood and injection-moulded plastic. The contrast of these materials reflects the balance between traditional craftsmanship and modern technologies that is at the core of PLANK’s approach to Italian design furniture making.
“The MONZA armchair is conceived as a simple wood construction which formally refers to a typology of chairs originating in Scandinavia,” explains Grcic. “The chair’s main character is defined by a back/armrest in moulded polypropylene, which on the one hand serves the chair’s structure and on the other provides comfort and colour.”
The frame of the MONZA armchair has a simple and efficient form that enables the chairs to be stacked to save space when required. The wood is lacquered and is available in natural ash, walnut, or black or white finishes. The addition in 2017 of Canaletto walnut and oak options provide alternative natural tones and textures.
The chair’s backrest is formed from a single piece of injection-moulded polypropylene that attaches to the tops of the four leg sections. The smooth curve of this plastic element sweeps around the sitter to form comfortable armrests with a thin yet sturdy profile. The polypropylene piece can be specified in a range of colours to ensure the chair looks its best in any interior setting.
A multipurpose range of Italian design furniture
The combination of contemporary and traditional materials, along with a familiar form and refined detailing gives MONZA a universal appeal that makes it suited to use in a wide range of scenarios, from homes and offices, to public spaces and restaurants. To enhance its functional capability in the context of seminar spaces or conference rooms, Grcic and PLANK devised an intelligent linking device that helps to connect the chairs and also incorporates a shallow storage tray.
Expanding the MONZA family is an ongoing project, with feedback from customers and clients informing new products that retain the ethos of the original design. The MONZA table, for example, features the same modern aesthetic and material contrast, with solid ash or extruded-aluminium legs fixed to a surface made from high-pressure laminate in black or white finishes. The highly versatile and customisable design developed by Grcic can be specified in varying dimensions and flat-packed for easy shipping.
The latest additions
Earlier this year, PLANK presented the latest additions to the MONZA range in front of a global audience at the annual Salone del Mobile design fair. The MONZA bistro chair is an adapted version of the classic MONZA design, featuring shortened armrests and a cushioned seat made from a two-part polyurethane system that combines the comfort of a lightweight foam with a hardy outer surface. In typical bistro-chair style, the armrests can dock on a table top to facilitate easy cleaning, making the MONZA bistro chair an ideal solution for bars and cafes.
Additionally, an outdoor version of the MONZA armchair is now available, featuring a slatted hardwood seat that makes the chair suited to use in gardens or on terraces, in either private homes or high-end hospitality contexts. The sturdy frame is made from iroko wood that is treated with oils to ensure its longevity in outdoor settings. The familiar armrest and backrest can be specified in black, caramel, caffè latte or terra brown, adding a sophisticated detail to the already classic MONZA design.