Enzo Mari - Product + Furniture Designer (1932-)
Here is a man that we at Lizotti think you should take the time to get to know.
Born in Novara, Italy in 1932, his attitude to design was primarily theoretical, to the point of being far too obscure to attained commercial success that other fellow late 20th century Italian designers received. A man deeply concerned with contemporary culture and a furniture’s relationship to the user rather than practicality saw his designs become popular with his design peers more so than with the general public.
With a background in classical literature from the Academia di Brera in Milan he forged a foundation for himself as a visual artist. It was during 1952 to 1956 that he began to be interested in design and became determined to teach himself the art of product and Furniture design. During this time Mari struggled for income like most designers and turned to a plastic manufacturer (Danese)to earn a living as a product designer.
He began with small projects such as problem solving puzzles. His first being 16 Animali (16 Animals), which he launched to the general public in 1957 for Danese. He would continue to work alongside Danese for many years, developing small objects which were both beautiful to touch, feel as well as visually beautiful.
Mari defined his work as being “elaborated or constructed in a way that corresponds entirely to the purpose or function”.
In 1962, he began to work with plastic in which he spent many years developing numerous household items such as hat stands, baskets and calendars. One of his greatest achievements working a Danese was the construction of a reversible Vase that (model 3087) which was so beautifully constructed and moulded that it achieved great success, thereby turning the public away from the idea that plastic items were too cheap and offensive to be considered beautiful or as sculpture.
Mari continued to be experimental in his work in other areas of visual art, founding th Nuova Tendenza Group of Artists in Milan in 1963.
Moving in and out of favour during the 1980’s and 1990’s Enzo Mari remains an influential designer through the 20th century. In 2001 he published his book titled “Progetto e Passione” (Project and Passion) in which he analyses design on the wider cultural landscape.
Now in his 70’s Mari continues to design extensively for Japan homeware store Muji. Gebruder Thonet (Vienna) also commissioned him to replicate and design modern versions of their bentwood chairs.
Enzo Mari continues to collaborate with design firms such as Artemide, Castelli, Danese, Driage, Gabbianelli, interflex. Lema, Magis as well as Zanotta.
Enzo’s work continues to be a fluid passage between his radical ideas and the simplicity of design. We are fond of his ability to be graceful with the most basic of materials and we anticipate that this old modern soul has a lot of design left in him!
Nu Disco sounds. Sure to brighten your Tuesday Blues.
A design company that specializes in the fabrication of kinetic furniture, lighting and robotic installations, RockPaperRobot‘s innovative Float Table is a matrix of “magnetized” wooden cubes that levitate with respect to one another. The repelling cubes are held in together by a system of taut steel cables. Classical physics applied to modern design, each handcrafted table is meticulously tuned to appear rigid and stable, although a simple touch reveals otherwise.
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