Born in Italy, at the age of 15 Bertoia moved to the United States with his family, and went on to study painting and sculpture. His interests were extensive and varied: initially a painter, he then worked primarily as a sculptor, in addition to designing jewellery, teaching techniques for working metals, and creating furniture designs. His partnerships with Eero Saarinen and Charles and Ray Eames also proved decisive in his career. His chairs built in metal rods (1952) were an instant success and highly sought after the world over. They fully express Bertoia's philosophy, and his approach to creating objects. First and foremost, they are comfortable, satisfying the fundamental requirements of functionality, yet already at first glance one realizes that they are actually sculptures, since in Bertoia's eyes a sculpture or a chair are conceptually similar elements. And finally, these creations are a testament to the extremely refined manual technique of working metal, of which Bertoia was a master. "Space passes through them," he would say, "and by looking at them intently our perception is that they are made of air, like sculptures."