It was 75 years ago, just after founding his eponymous maison, that Monsieur Christian Dior introduced the Medallion chair as a solution to a lack of elegant seating options for his patrons. Drawing on the oval-backed style of dining chairs attributed to Louis XVI, the simple-yet-distinguished perch has since become an emblem of the house, with its form employed in many motifs and various iterations throughout the decades—like a presentation at last year’s edition of Salone del Mobile, which saw 17 designers offering their own interpretations of the icon.
This week in Milan, on the same occasion (Salone’s 60th Anniversary edition, to be exact), Dior invited Philippe Starck to conceive in his style a new take on the Medallion chair. Starck’s first project with the house, the renowned architect and designer employed his love for simplicity when conceiving this boldly effeminate piece of furniture, which he fittingly deemed Miss Dior.
“With the Miss Dior chair, collective memory takes center stage. We all drew this historical icon with our memory; I explored mine. The conscious and unconscious signs emitted by the House of Dior are part of my own mental heritage: this collaboration was extremely natural for me,” said Starck.
Crafted with both function and aesthetic in mind, Starck captured the purity of the Medallion’s form with its smooth oval back and rounded seat made from lightweight aluminum and presented in several colorways—like a glossy chrome, pink copper, and a true aluminum hue, with the additional options for satinated or polished finishes. The Miss Dior Medallion at once captures an essence of modernity and timelessness, offering design options for a memorable one-armed silhouette as well as a classic two-armed and a variation without any armrests.
“Some have searched all their lives for the little black dress, I have always dreamed of the perfect little chair,” the designer stated. “This icon of perfection clearly exists in our collective unconscious, in the form of the Louis XVI Medallion chair and its magic oval, which is one of the symbols of the House of Dior. Everything has always brought me back to this chair. When Dior asked me to work on this model, I had a feeling of squaring the circle, of completing a cycle.”
For its introduction to the design world, Starck’s Miss Dior Medallion chair was presented in a cinematic activation combining a choreography of lights and a staged setting that suggests the chair is more a functional work of art than an object. Visitors in Milan will find the impactful installation viewable at the Palazzo Citterio through June 12, timed with the run of the design fair.