A 1986 special edition example of the Pratone or Big Meadow seat by Gufram, $27,500 (£22,275) at Billings.

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A re-issue of the Pratone or Big Meadow seat – the winning entry to the 1970 Sintesis Idee 70 competition – raced away from its $5000-7000 estimate to sell online via LiveAuctioneers at $27,500 (£22,275).

The Pratone chaise was the brainchild of a trio of radical Turin architects (Pietro Derossi, Giorgio Ceretti, and Riccardo Rosso) who called it ‘an object for individual and group relaxation’.

It was designed, with no shortage of pop art irony, like an outsized square of artificial lawn with 42 blades of grass made from coated soft polyurethane foam, then relatively new material. It measured 4ft 7in (1.4m) square and just over 3ft (91.5cm) high.

The Italian manufacturer Gufram did begin batch production in 1971 and the following year the Pratone was shown at the MOMA as part of the exhibition Italy: The New Domestic Landscape. However, most examples that come for sale are either modern re-issues or part of an edition of 200 pieces made by Gufram in 1986. Billings’ piece from the 1986 run was stamped with the manufacturer’s mark to side and the number 157/200 and had a provenance to the Standard Hotel in Los Angeles.

Chandigarh project

The auction on September 16 also included a pair of teak, cane and fabric armchairs designed by Swiss artist, architect and designer Pierre Jeanneret (1896- 1967) for the Punjab University in Chandigarh.


A c.1955 pair of Pierre Jeanneret easy armchairs, $13,000 (£10,500) at Billings.

In 1950 he had joined his cousin Charles-Édouard Jeanneret (who assumed the pseudonym Le Corbusier) to create the new capital of Punjab. The Chandigarh project involved much of the civic architecture, 14 different types of mass housing plus furniture for some of the public buildings.

The university armchairs (which were made in France and Indian c.1955) have become classics of mid-century design. This pair, with a provenance to the university and newer caning and cushions, came for sale with a guide of $12,000-15,000 and took $13,000 (£10,500).