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11 Sep 2018

Gufram + Iconic Cactus Status

Founded in 1966 and deeply influenced by the Pop Art movement, Gufram is the Italian design brand that supported the creativity of the first “radical designers” allowing them to experiment on shapes and colours, therefore demolishing the idea of bourgeoisie furniture dominating interior decoration. This disruptive vision allowed Gufram to get in touch with artists and creatives to foster an unparalleled cross-over between art and design which still remains in the brand’s DNA. 

 Cactus, designed by Guido Drocco and Franco Mello in 1972, is one of the most iconic pieces in Gufram’s catalogue; a functional sculpture exhibited in the most prestigious art and design museums around the world, Cactus is the subject of uncountable, free and often equivocal interpretations. Made in flexible polyurethane, Gufram’s Cactus is soft and thornless. This hall tree with four cantilevered arms is almost as tall as a person, and looks like an ironic totem that personifies the grit, imagination, and humour of design in the 70s. Able to gather all the attention upon itself, it frees itself form functionalism at all costs, because it can fulfil its function or be used as an ornamental element. Made entirely by hand, each piece is unique: as a matter of fact, the 2165 bosses that characterize its surface are finished by hand, one by one, by specialized workers and later painted with Guflac, the unique paint patented by Gufram that makes it possible to make polyurethane look like leather while maintaining its flexibility and softness. 

 The first edition Cactus was a very deep emerald shade of green (1/2000), and since then it was cyclically reinterpreted according to the colour and the style of the moment. In 2007 Gufram created the Biancocactus, a white version (1/250). In 2010 the iconic design was reimagined in red, the Rossocactus (1/500), and then in black, the Nerocactus (1/500). In 2012, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the cactus’ world debut, the limited edition Metacactus was born (1/300). In this variation the green lime colour fades into orange at the tips, as if they were toasted by the scorching sun of the desert. For Gufram’s comeback to France in 2015, the company introduced a new limited special edition of the legendary Cactus, Lebluecactus (1/33). This version turns blue – the same shade as the French flag. 2017 Welcomed the Radiant Cactus (1/44). And in 2018, Gufram added two new interpretations, the Another Green Cactus and Another White Cactus in shades of green and white respectively, these iterations are presented as open editions. 

 Radiant Cactus circa September 2017 – On the occasion of Frieze Week in London, one of the most cosmopolitan and avant-garde events in the art world, Gufram teamed up with Ordovas for the exhibitions Marilyn, Flowers, Lips, Gun, Mirror and Cactus. This ultimate exhibition on Pop Art included major works by Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Tom Wesselmann together with the specially commissioned Radiant Cactus. The unique glow of the radiant cactus is charged by daylight due to special luminescent particles added to the Guflac giving Radiant Cactus a special dreamy appearance allowing it to transform the domestic environment into a fairy-tale forest.