Italy has a uniquely rich design heritage that was originally fostered by the country’s strong artisanal tradition, an exceedingly high emphasis on quality, and an acute appreciation of aesthetics on the part of a refined public. During the post-WWII era, Italy achieved an unprecedented level of success in the mass production of industrial goods, allowing for the dissemination of high design pieces to a wider audience, both at home and abroad. Since the 1950s Italian designers have consistently produced some of the most innovative, beautiful and coveted design pieces in the world. In the following pages we present some of the most iconic Italian design pieces from the last couple of decades.
Album Table by Roberto Barbieri for Zanotta, 2010
The Album Table by Roberto Barbieri is one of the best examples of Italian contemporary design. The simple, almost Shaker-inspired lines are enriched by the use of strong woods, like solid oak or Canaletto walnut. Simultaneously representing rural and urban design elements, the Album Table successfully meets the current design requirement for cozy and uncomplicated elegance.
Poly Chair by Karim Rashid for Bonaldo, 2007
A product of the most recent collaboration between Bonaldo and Karim Rashid, the Poly Chair has met with resounding commercial success and was the 2008 recipient of the prestigious Chicago Athenaeum Good Design Award and the Red Dot Design Award. Rashid’s objects constantly challenge preconceived notions of design, while increasing the aesthetic beauty of the world around us. The stackable Poly Chair, made entirely of polycarbonate, is a harmony of angular lines, resulting in a graceful confluence of shapes that together produce a maximum level of comfort.
Cartney sideboard by Rodolfo Dordoni for Minotti, 2008
Finding balance through contrast is a theme that runs throughout modern design. One of the most superb manifestations of this trend is the Cartney sideboard. Creatively combining bright lacquer with brushed ash wood, the two disparate materials are separated by a light aluminum perimeter. Recognizing the value of adaptability, Minotti has created the sideboard in five different sizes, suitable for a variety of settings.
Bell Light from Axo Light, 2009
One of the six pieces from Axo’s new ‘Lightecture’ line, the beautifully innovative Bell light was designed for use in large, loft-like spaces. The lamp ranges in size from a massive 180 cm diameter, to a more manageable diameter of 30 cm. The imaginative construction of the lamp begins with a metal skeleton that is then wrapped with smooth ribbons of fireproof pongé silk fabric, available in 10 different colors. The Bell lamp was the 2010 winner of the Elle Decoration International Design Award (ELIDA).
Up 5 Armchair by Gaetano Pesce for B & B, 1969 & 2000
Many design houses can be found reaching back into their own archives for a bit of inspiration, re-releasing some of their most famed pieces to an eager public. One of the most anticipated reissues is the Up 5 Armchair. At the time of its first release in 1969 the chair was revolutionary, both in terms of technology and design. The chair was originally sold vacuum-packed and when blown up made for an exceptional visual impact. The lines of the chair are reflective of the female form, which is connected to a ball-shaped ottoman, serving as a testimony of the subjugation of women, an issue so paramount at the time. Today, the chair’s visual impact has in no way decreased, and is both a wonderful expression of modernity, and a delightfully whimsical design piece.
Yo-Yo table by Jacob Wagner for Moroso, 2004
Danish designer Jacob Wagner has created a modern icon for design firm Moroso. A designer who relishes in challenging our senses, and finding a balance among contrasts, Wagner’s Yo-Yo table demonstrates a perfect symmetry between form and function, in a remarkably uncomplicated way. Designed to complement almost any design aesthetic, the sofa table is available in beech, oak and high-gloss lacquered finishes.
Met by Piero Lissoni for Cassina, 1996
Perhaps one of the most recognizable pieces in our Luxos selection, the Met sofa was an instant design classic upon its release in 1996. Elegant form, practical function, utmost comfort…the Met exemplifies what modern furniture design is all about. And perhaps the most modern feature of all, the flexibility of the design allows for individual expression and adaptability to personal needs.
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