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2012/127/1 Chair, 'Ray Chair', polyurethane foam, designed by Antonio Pio Saracino, made by FoamTek, Italy / United States of America, 2010. Click to enlarge.

‘Ray Chair’ by Antonio Pio Saracino

Made 2010

The ‘Ray Chair’ is an excellent example of contemporary international furniture design that follows the growing trend that looks towards the natural world for inspiration. In the case of the ‘Ray Chair’ it is the growth of crystals in which he finds his inspiration. The inspiration for his other chairs including the ‘Clover’ and ‘Blossom’ is self-explanatory but antlers, bones, and microscopic cellular arrangement have been nominated by him as his muse for others designs.

The designer of the ‘...


Object No.


Object Statement

Chair, 'Ray Chair', polyurethane foam, designed by Antonio Pio Saracino, made by FoamTek, Italy / United States of America, 2010

Physical Description

Tall chair constructed from vertical columns of square-sectioned multiple strips of rubber foam sealed with an elastic polymer skin giving a crystalline appearance akin to the basalt columns of the Giant's Causeway' in County Antrim, Northern Ireland.



914 mm


584 mm


584 mm



The 'Ray Chair' is part of a limited edition designed in 2010 by Antonio Pio Saracino (born 1976). The 'Ray Chair' takes the proportions of a tall dining chair and is constructed from vertical columns of square-sectioned multiple strips of rubber foam sealed with an elastic polymer skin. The multiples of stepped squares lends the chair a crystalline appearance which the designer himself describes as having, ' . . . developed from an exploration of structural components found in the natural world, adapted as an expression of design. . . . . This chair exists as a visual contradiction - it looks as hard as a gemstone but in fact it is soft and comfortable. When viewed from above the Ray Chair is reminiscent of a composition of pixels or a formation of crystals.'

Saracino's design philosophy reflects a move away from minimalist modernism towards nature for inspiration - an approach shared by other designers such as Patricia Urquiola. In answer to the question posed by 'Lancia Trendvisions', 'Where is design going and where do you picture yourself?', Saracino replied: 'Modernism is definitely over. In the last 5-10 years, design has been moving away from the 'machine' aesthetic and functional paradigm. We are approaching a more organic and fluid world in which reactions to our actions are fast; a world that reflects the advanced digitalization underlying many of our activities. Digital machines are getting closer and closer to our perceptions. In the 'Ray Chair' for example, I have reproduced the mathematical beauty of an algorithm derived from the study of crystal formation. But, at the same time, I have analysed the virtual formation of pixels and the seat complexity is in fact created by the pixel depth.'

The 'Ray Chair' is a descendent of designs by renowned fellow-Italian designer, Joe Colombo (1930 - 1971). Colombo's schemes for his 'Additional Living System' (1967) and the 'Visiona' 'habitat of the future' concept (1969) similarly took advantage of the sculptural freedom (with comfort) offered by polyurethane foam.

Sources and Refs: (viewed 12 Sept 2012)
Antonio Saracino website: Sofa
'Lancia Trendvisions'





Antonio Pio Saracino (born 1976) is an Italian-born architect and designer, living and working in New York and Italy. In 2003, Saracino graduated in Architecture at 'La Sapienza' University of Architecture in Rome, where he then worked as assistant professor of architectural design. For the following two years, he worked with several Italian and US architectural firms including Massimiliano Fuksas in Rome on the project for the Palazzo Congressi. Since 2004, he has collaborated with New York-based architect Steve Blatz on interiors, conceptual projects and design competitions, including Seed House, a pod-shaped residence, and winner of the American Architecture Award in 2007 by the Chicago Museum of Architecture. Saracino is a four-time winner of the Future Furniture design competition sponsored by Interior Design magazine, New York. His projects have received extensive coverage in architecture and art publications in Italy, France, Belgium, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Russia, Japan, Korea, Brazil, the US and Australia. His design work for Tibi boutique in Soho, New York (2007) was featured in Interior Design's 'Best of the Year' issue and the 'Global Shop' section of Wallpaper. He was also named one of the world's 25 most interesting trendsetters by ARTnews magazine, New York.

In 2007-2008 Saracino was selected as the winner of the Agorafolly art competition in Brussels, Belgium, to create a work celebrating the 50th anniversary of the European Union. His large-scale installation was mounted in front of the Central Train Station. For more than a decade, Saracino's designs and work have been shown in solo and group exhibitions in Rome, Venice, Trieste, Brussels, London, Athens, Moscow, Cordoba, Sao Paulo, Mexico City, New York, Washington and Sydney.

This 'Ray Chair' was displayed at the Arteral gallery in Rozelle from where it was purchased by the Museum.



Credit Line

Purchased 2012

Acquisition Date

26 October 2012

Cite this Object


'Ray Chair' by Antonio Pio Saracino 2019, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 25 April 2019, <>


{{cite web |url= |title='Ray Chair' by Antonio Pio Saracino |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=25 April 2019 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}


This object record is currently incomplete. Other information may exist in a non-digital form. The Museum continues to update and add new research to collection records.

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