Among the daring designers of the 1960s and 1970s, Maurice-Claude Vidili stands apart. Transitioning from practical design to the avant garde, Vidili made a name for himself by licensing editions of his designs. Born on October 20, 1937, Vidili completed his schooling in Nice, where he earned a doctorate in urban planning. From there, he executed many architectural projects along the glamorous French Riviera before transitioning into a role at car manufacturer Renault.
At Renault, Vidili pioneered the idea of a car with five seats, cementing his reputation as a creative thinker and an innovator. Vidili followed his instincts in favoring novelty and crafting modernity, and began creating his own singular furnishing designs. One of his most recognizable works would come in 1971—the remarkable Isolation Sphere.
Composed of four lacquered polyester shells fused together to create a maximum of silence, the sphere features plush seating for three (made of polyurethane upholstered foam padding) and is outfitted with ample storage, electrical power, and a radio (that has since been adapted to link to a smart phone). The piece’s elegant simplicity of form, palette, and medium complement its functional elements and evince the absolute serenity of insulated comfort and control.
Maison Gerard has one of the few Vidili Spheres known to remain. Another is held in the permanent collection at the Art & Design Atomium Museum, Brussels.
Not only did the sphere offer privacy at a time when space and quiet were in short supply, it also forever wedded the designer’s fresh conception of leisure to a brand new, alluring aesthetic—one of plastics, paneling, and comfort—an aesthetic influenced by technological developments, the sweeping successes of science fiction, and the end of the counter cultural revolution.
With such a legacy behind him, Vidili devotes his life to writing on the subjects which first stirred his passions.