"Living Center"

Joe Colombo, Italian, 1930 - 1971. Made from 1971 by Rosenthal AG, Selb, Germany, founded 1879.

Made in Selb, Germany, Europe

Designed 1970

Wool upholstery, metal, laminated wood, plastic

Chaise longue [2001-42-10,11]: 25 1/2 x 32 3/4 x 63 inches (64.8 x 83.2 x 160 cm) Food trolley [2001-42-12]: 28 x 25 1/2 x 67 inches (71.1 x 64.8 x 170.2 cm) Bar trolley [2001-42-13]: 25 1/2 x 19 3/4 x 55 1/4 inches (64.8 x 50.2 x 140.3 cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Decorative Arts and Sculpture

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
125th Anniversary Acquisition. Gift of Collab: The Group for Modern and Contemporary Design at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2001

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Additional information:
  • PublicationGifts in Honor of the 125th Anniversary of the Philadelphia Museum of Art

    One of the most revolutionary figures in twentieth-century Italian design, Joe Colombo argued that objects must respect their physical and sociocultural context and should accommodate the user's constantly changing needs. The 1970 Living Center, composed of two adjustable chaises and two serving trolleys on wheels, typifies Colombo's philosophy by allowing multiple modes of use and arrangement. Each chaise-longue is fitted with corner cushions that can serve either as headrests or footrests and flat surfaces with ashtrays can be pulled out of the arms. The trolley for bar service and entertainment and the food-service trolley are both equipped with a variety of compartments for such items as bottles, glasses, flatware, and china, as well as an electric hot plate, radio, and turntable.

    The Living Center is one of fifteen groups of objects designed by Colombo for several manufacturers between 1964 and 1971 that were purchased for the Museum by Collab, the Museum's committee for modern and contemporary design. Long out of production, the objects transform the Museum's collection by virtue of their designer, range, date, and rarity. Kathryn Bloom Hiesinger, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gifts in Honor of the 125th Anniversary (2002), p. 150.