Italy is immediately associated with one word: style. Italian style, which for the entire 20th century set fashion standards and amazed the entire world. Much of the credit goes, without a doubt, to the architects and designers, but there are also companies who always believed in innovation and experimentation, with a desire to play, dare, create. The combination of creativity and tenacity gave rise to objects that have stood up to the passing of the decades and become classics. Italian design is beautifully displayed in museums and shows both in private residences and public spaces. Here we present a series of works that deserve to be known and remembered.
1. 1964 TS502
In 1964, Brionvega’s TS502 touched down in Italian homes. It was immediately renamed “the Cube”: a rounded parallelepiped designed by Zanuso and Sapper that won the hearts of generations of design fans. Still made today, the Cube is the emblem of the period in which transistors and moulded plastics allowed the design world to unleash its creativity and make beautiful objects to use and admire.
2. 1965 LC2
Taking a seat on the LC2 means becoming part of a work of art. The timeless armchair, for fifty years the benchmark of international design, is the result of the partnership between Cassina and Le Corbusier, which designed this chair with Jeannet and Perriand. A new idea of production – industrial yet exceptionally sophisticated – and innovative materials have made the LC2 an architectural classic.
3. 1978 PROUST
The literary sensations of Remembrance of Things Past have been embodied in an object thanks to Alessandro Mendini’s creativity. False 1700 style, post-modern fabric that recaptures the pictorial suggestions of the beginning of the 20th century, rigorously handcrafted. Since 1978, The Proust armchair has been recognised as a designer object but especially as a work of art, which is why it is displayed at European museums.
4. 1970 BOCCA
The inspiration came from a Dalì painting, the dedication was to Marilyn Monroe. In the middle there were two young architects, Pop Art and a desire to fill the world with beauty and colour. The result was sensational: the Bocca sofa, by Studio65, which won the hearts of magazines and the public at large right from its debut. The wit, sensuality, and brilliance of the design transformed known images into something new.
5. 1957 SELLA
When telephones were attached to the walls, it was possible to chat for hours while standing. To remedy the problem, Achille Castiglioni came up with Sella, and Zanotta manufactured it. It was 1957 and Italian design was exploding around the world. A leather bicycle seat with a lever and steel rod, mounted on a semi-spherical base in cast iron that creates an “always standing” base. Simply genius.
6. 1990 JUICY SALIF
The Juicy Salif, probably one of the most famous designer objects in the world and undoubtedly the most controversial citrus juicer ever. Designed by Philippe Starck for Alessi in 1990, this utensil crosses the line between tool and artistic creation. It can be purchased at home and kitchen supply shops and is used (sometimes) to make fresh-squeezed juice, but its true chosen setting is the MoMA in New York.
7. 1922 REMIDA
It seems like it was created today and instead almost a century has passed. It was 1922 and Zanotta celebrated the Futurist Fortunato Depero, artist and publicist, with this stool in white maple with seat in recessed leather. The colours and design are obviously by Depero, the desire to dare is from a company that has produced Italian design masterpieces. A timeless classic.
8. 2005 VICTORIA GHOST
It is like a ghost, invisible. And yet, when you notice it, you can’t be unaffected. The Victoria Ghost seat, designed in 2005 by Philippe Starck for Kartell, is a chair in transparent or coloured polycarbonate that is good for gardens, contemporary kitchens or stylish living rooms. Precisely like a ghost that passes through different time periods remaining the same, without ever losing the ability to astonish.
Alessandro di Giacomo e Federico Flamminio