May 12, 2006

Reissuing The Moderno: The Rocker That Made Yrj Kukkapuro A Household Name

moderno_rocker.jpgIn 1960, Professor Yrj Kukkapuro, the Finnish designer and academic, introduced what would become one of his most famous works: the Moderno rocker. It was the centerpiece of a clean, unassuming, ergonomic, and classically Scandinavian line of chairs that were produced by a firm called Lepo.

Last year, after a long hiatus, Lepo reintroduced the Moderno line, slightly updating the thin metal legs [which used to be available in copper. But not anymore] including the rocking chair. A Finnish women's magazine called Muoto says it costs around EUR1000, but that's only with the massive rocker subsidy the Finnish government gives to each new parent. There's socialism for ya. They also get two years paid parental leave, for both parents.

Sparkability has the Moderno rocker in an astounding 101 different fabric and color options for $2,300. []
Muoto only rated the Moderno 8 pistettas out of a possible 15, though, whatever that means []
I listened about 15 times, and I think it's pronounced "UHR-yo": How To Pronounce Finnish Names [via]


So for those who must know - the 8 pistetta comes from adding up its score in three categories:

Style:(my rough translations follow)"This is a regular recliner to which skis have been added. As a whole, not entirely convincing." = 3 points
Function: Pleasant for sitting, but the wool used for the fabric is unpleasant. = 3 points
Other: Designer's name probably adds extra to the price, otherwise I don't know why this chair costs so much" = 2 points

Rocker subsidy would be a nice bonus to the paid paternal leave, but thanks to enormous taxes paid to support said leave, 1000EUR is a huge amount of money for regular Juha who averages 2500 EUR/month to shell out for a chair + skis.

I contacted Sparkability a few months back, and they told me that they are not going to continue carrying it; it will be replaced by another rocker, although they can still get it in for the moment.

At the time, #2 was not on the way yet, so it was still a theoretical purchase. However, now that I am a mere 4 days from the official start of my second trimester with babe #2, it is way up there on the priority list.

I contacted the Finnish manufacturer directly, and they immediately sent me the fabric and colour swatches. It comes in 2 fabrics: wool felt (not very practical for babies and kids) and microfibre, in a dizzying array of colours (my 2 1/2 year old wants white). I was frankly disappointed that it did not come in a mid-century style wool boucle.

This is the ONLY rocker I have seen and liked -- that both suits our style AND looks comfortable (no one is going to be able to convince me that the Eames rocker is comfortable for more than a few minutes, even with a sheepskin cover), so we will be getting it. However, I am thinking of trying to persuade the manufacturer to let us supply our own fabric -- some sort of wool boucle, or something along the lines of Designers Guild Tevere (in turquoise).

[hm, I know that because of the million fabric options, Sparkability doesn't keep an inventory of the chair; they just carry it for custom order. Which has got to be a pretty solid leadtime, like at least 6-8 weeks, no? -ed.]

BTW: the price for the rocker quoted to me by the manaufacturer was 420 Euros for the wool felt version, and 670 Euros for the microfibre version. Shipping is in addition to this; to my destination, it is approx. 300 Euros. However, since we are moving to Europe for a 3 year posting once the babe is born, we will buy it overseas, and skip the shipping costs.

I should explain that the reason the manufacturer agreed to sell directly to me was that there is no Canadian distributer or retailer for this product. (And I think this is also the case for the country we are moving to...)

Can you tell me the contact information of the distributor. I'm in Canada as well and would like to order this chair. Thanks!

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