Italian sculptor, university lecturer and furniture designer Harry Bertoia emigrated to America in 1930. He studied at the Cass Technical High School in Detroit and trained on a scholarship at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, Michigan.
From 1939 to 1943, he set up a metal workshop and began to teach jewelry and metal working. In 1943, he worked with Charles and Ray Eames for the Evans Product Company where they experimented on molded-plywood designer furniture.
In 1950, he established a studio in Pennsylvania and introduced his famous 'Diamond' chair for the Knoll International in 1952. Bertoia was an inventor of form and an enricher of retro furniture design with his introduction of a new material, he turned industrial wire rods into a design icon.
The success was immediate and in the mid-50's the royalties he received for these chairs allowed him to devote himself exclusively to his sculpting
In Bertoia's own words, "If you look at these chairs, they are mainly made of air, like sculpture. Space passes right through them."
They were produced with varying degrees of upholstery over their light grid-work, and they were handmade because a suitable mass production process could not be found. Unfortunately, the chair edge utilized two thin wires welded on either side of the mesh seat. This design had been granted a patent to the Eames for the wire chair produced by Herman Miller.
Harry Bertoia had a son and two daughters, a grandson and two granddaughters, and two great grandsons so far. Some members of the subsequent two generations are engaged in artistic endeavors