Designed in late 1953, the DU 30 armchair is certainly Gastone Rinaldi’s most famous piece. In fact, it was awarded the Compasso d’Oro, then known as the Compasso d’Oro-Rinascente, in 1954, the first year the prize was presented.
The jury included the likes of Gio Ponti, Marco Zanuso and Alberto Rosselli. The DU 30 armchair was immediately patented and appeared on the front cover of the first edition of Stile Industria magazine in June 1954. The unitary nature of the seat and backrest results in a central cutting and stitching effect that brings to mind the contemporary works of Lucio Fontana. The DU 30 armchair has a shaped single shell in steel mesh with moulded polyurethane foam padding. Legs in bent and welded iron tubing with a textured, wrinkled black finish (BLACK RAL 9005). Equipped with a lower ‘backbone’, the shell is directly screwed to each pair of legs. The padding is in moulded polyurethane foam and the upholstery is in Pelle Frau® leather, distinctive for its central stitching which begins at the bottom of the backrest, where gentle folds are formed, and continues right along the seat. The front is embellished with hand stitching.
Gastone Rinaldi was born in Padua on 16 November 1920. In 1916 his father Mario had established RIMA, a company for the production of metal furniture. Gastone enrolled in the Faculty of Economics, but he was passionate about design and sport (as a footballer, he went as far as playing with Cremona, at the time very strong, and as a racing car driver, he took part in the legendary Thousand Mile race). In 1948, together with his brother Giorgio, he took over from his father in managing the business. He met Gio Ponti and in 1950 he designed the chairs (DU10 and DU11) for the Hospital Section of the IX Milan Triennial. At the same Triennial, the DU9 chair was also presented. Domus published his creations regularly. In 1952, he attended the XXX Milano Fair in the section curated by Alberto Rosselli, Ettore Sottsass and Marco Zanuso. The armchairs for the Piccolo theatre of Milan followed, with Zanuso. In 1954, he won the Compasso d’Oro for the chair DU30. He participated with Ponti, Parisi, De Carli and Gardella in the American adventure of Altamira, one of the first companies across the ocean to call Italian designers. He therefore worked with Carlo Mollino on the chairs for the Molinette Hospital of Turin. In 1957, the armchair DU41 won the silver medal at the XI Triennial. However the internal relations within RIMA became complex and in 1974 Rinaldi established Thema. In 1978, he obtained a nomination for the Compasso d’Oro for the armchair Arianna and in 1981 another for the folding chair Dafne. Thema closed in 1989, Gastone Rinaldi died in Padua on 02 March 2006.