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Arts of Europe

The MFAH collections of art created on the European continent encompass artistic styles across the time line of history, from the ancient world to the Middle Ages, and the Early Modern era to the 21st century.

© Ron Arad
Israeli, born 1951
Narrow Paparadelle Chair
Designed 1992, made 1998
Stainless steel and steel

Unrolled: 42 x 16 x 118 1/8 inches

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Gift of the Sealy Family Trust, by exchange

Arts of Europe

Celebrated Israeli architect and designer Ron Arad is renowned for furniture that incorporates industrial materials with a language of volume and sinuous line. His Narrow Paparadelle chair exhibits extraordinary freedom in its design, seeming to be continually in motion.  

Since the beginning of his career, Arad has designed his furniture using steel, a material attractive to him for its surface, minimalist spirit, strength, and ability to be contorted by pressure or fire. All of his early furniture was created by hand; he purposefully avoided the effects of machine tooling.

Influenced by artists and architects ranging from Marcel Duchamp and the Surrealists to Marcel Breuer, Jean Prouvé, and the group Archigram, Arad first rose to prominence in the early 1980s. When he began serial production of his furniture later in the decade, he introduced controlled manufacturing flaws so that each chair would be subtly different.

By 1992, Arad introduced woven steel wire to his designs, allowing him to create undulating forms that were more fluid. Narrow Paparadelle chair, a version of his earlier London Paparadelle, is one of these works. The design emphasizes the flexible nature of the material through its soft, rolling curves, similar to the pasta noodle pappardelle. The curves are reinforced at the edges by steel, which gives the form enough strength to be functional.