Are you sitting comfortably?

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What does one think of when certain South American countries come to mind? Rain Forests? Tropical grassland? La Violenca? FARC? Drug Cartels? Add into the mix some ex-prisoners and you’re more likely to be running around nervously and sweating with irrational fear – wait, we’re back to the drug cartels again – than sitting comfortably on a pretty piece of furniture.

All that is about to change. This year Marni collaborated with Colombian former inmates to present a collection of 100 chairs which were presented at Salone Mobile 2012. The project’s aim is to reinforce the resettlement of ex-prisoners back into the workforce and into society in general.

Based on a seat found in many Colombian familial homes, the chair is fashioned out of a metal frame with woven PVC threads forming the fabric around the backs and armrests. This “fabric” has been given the Marni makeover with new patterns and colourways and would sit happily in any colour devotee’s household.

The chairs themselves form part of a bigger project with the photographer filmmaker Francesco Jodice called, “L’arte del Ritratto”. Members of the Marni team will have their portraits taken seated on the chairs, in a celebration of the team as a whole.

The photographs – and accompanying film – debuted during Salone Mobile 2012 in an exhibition in the Milan Marni boutique and can now be seen in Marni’s online magazine ANTICAMERA 2 on  It is now traveling to local stores to be exhbitied where the teams there will have portraits taken, extending the exhibit further.

And if this marriage of art, design and charity was not impressive enough, Marni has gone  one step further by giving the proceeds from the sale of the chairs to ICAM – a Milanese-based project which allows children of imprisoned mothers to spend their youth in a family environment. The chairs are available now to purchase from 200-450E.

All of that out of one chair?  A thoughtful piece in both design and outlook. If you’ve bought one of these, you will indeed be sitting pretty.

by Marie-Louise von Haselberg