Mattel Teams Up With Milan’s Kartell To Create Chic Barbie Chairs In Signature Pink

Experience the fusion of iconic Barbie charm with Italian design excellence in the groundbreaking collaboration between Mattel and Kartell. Discover a collection of doll-sized chairs and limited-edition full-sized pieces, redefining 'Barbie chic' with style and sustainability.

  • 30 May '24
  • 11:41 am by Tanvee Abhyankar

Mattel, Inc. recently announced a collaborative venture between the Barbie franchise and the esteemed Italian design company, Kartell, introducing an innovative collection spanning toys and consumer goods. Working in tandem, Kartell and Mattel Creations, the collector arm of Mattel,  embarked on a reinterpretation of the five chairs originally crafted for Kartell by prominent architect and designer Philippe Starck. Established in 1949, Kartell has long been regarded as a pioneer in Italian design, known for its relentless pursuit of innovation and creativity. 

The multifaceted collaboration entails the production of five of Kartell’s most iconic chairs—AI, Venice, Louis Ghost, Masters, and Ero/s—in actual doll size, all imbued with a Barbie-inspired twist. This line marks the debut of the first Barbie Signature collection, exclusively featuring Barbie doll-sized furniture. Kartell will also present five adult-sized reproductions of the entire collection at Milan Design Week, with a limited release of the Barbie brand’s Masters and Louis Ghost chairs available exclusively for Barbie enthusiasts. The limited collection showcases elevated design and explores the future of plastics with innovative materials prioritising sustainability, such as bamboo material and 100% FSC recycled paper packaging.

Named ‘Barbie X Kartell 5-Piece Doll-Sized Chair Set’, the Barbie pink chairs are available for $60.00 for all Barbie fans. Image credit: Mattel and Kartell

Kim Culmone, Senior Vice President and Global Head of Doll Design for Mattel, said “Barbie has long been an international icon and inspiration and the brand continues to spark conversation, creativity, and self-expression. In this collaboration, Mattel and Kartell, whose relationship has spanned over 15 years, come together once again in a visually striking way, appealing to the design and collector community”.

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In addition to launching five pink Barbie toy chairs, Kartell presents two of these in full size. The iconic and world-renowned Louis Ghost and Masters chairs are adorned in Barbie pink for this limited edition. Image credit: Mattel and Kartell

Each chair is crafted in original proportions and a doll-sized version to mark 65 years of Barbie, the iconic toy invented by Ruth Handler in 1959. All the furniture is coloured in Pantone 219 C, the recognizable Barbie Pink hue, and made from recycled plastic, according to Kartell. The lineup includes Starck’s AI model, the first of Kartell’s chairs designed using artificial intelligence. Even without the Barbie Pink shade, these chairs feature some of the most recognizable shapes in the design world. The Louis Ghost chair designed in 2002 by Philippe Starck,  riffs on baroque French furniture from the reign of Louis XV were rendered with a single piece of translucent polycarbonate. The Masters’ Chair, also by Starck, combines furniture silhouettes from three 20th-century design masters: Arne Jacobsen’s Series 7, Eero Saarinen’s Tulip Armchair, and Charles Eames’ Eiffel Chair.

Whether utilised as a dining chair, a centrepiece in the living room, or a stylish enhancement to the bedroom, the Master’s Chair Limited Edition in Barbie Pink commands attention and ignites conversation. Kartell’s remarkable interpretation of this design injects spaces with a hint of playful elegance. A stackable chair with a rounded backrest, the transparent furniture is distinguished by a Barbie Dreamhouse-style design. Described by Kartell as boasting a sleek silhouette and a pink finish that evokes a feeling of whimsical and nostalgia, this chair adds a touch of sophistication to any setting. Additionally, the project includes the recreation of the Venice model, a dining chair with timeless lines. Masters, featuring smooth and curved shapes, and Starck’s egg-shaped Eros swivel chair, constitute the fourth and fifth additions to the collection.

Celebrating Barbie’s timeless charm, this exclusive Louis Ghost chair adds a vibrant pop to any space. With its sleek silhouette and Barbie Pink finish, it evokes whimsy and nostalgia, making it a must-have for collectors and design enthusiasts. Image credit: Mattel and Kartell

The Barbie x Kartell collection was displayed at the Mattel Creations pop-up during Conde Nast’s “The Vogue Italia Closet,” which took over one of the five exhibition rooms starting on April 16, 2024. As part of this week-long exhibition, Mattel Creations showcased collaborations from the past, where toys become art and art becomes playful. Kartell also presented five adult-sized reproductions of the entire collection during Milan Design Week, with a limited run of the Barbie brand’s Masters and Louis Ghost chairs available exclusively for Barbie fans to purchase on the Kartell and Mattel Creations websites.