Architect and Industrial designer, Marco Zanuso contributed to the Italian design movement in the years following World War II
About his life
He was born in 1916 and died in 2001 in Milan. He studied architecture at the Polytechnic School of Milan and after he founded his own studio in 1945. During his life, he received several rewards: many gold medals, the Grand Prix at the Milan Triennial but also five Compasso d’Oro between 1956 and 1985. In 1957, Zanuso started to collaborate with Richard Sapper, a famous designer. They produced together a real functional range of televisions and radio stations. These products influenced the use of plastics for the consumer products and caused a reduction in the prices.
What were his major works?
His major commissions in Milan, where he was a member of the city planning commission, included the renovation of the Teatro Fossati and the construction of the nearby Piccolo Teatro. Zanuso edited the influential design magazines Domus (1947–49) and Casabella (1952–54), taught architecture and design at the Milan Polytechnic from the 1960s, and served (1957–59 and 1966–74) as president of the Italian Association of Industrial Design. As an architect, Zanuso designed housing as well as factories and offices in Italy, Argentina, Brazil, and South Africa.
What are the main features of Zanuso’s style?
He helped to revolutionize post-World War II furniture and appliance design, bringing innovative contemporary styling to mass-produced consumer products through his use of sculptural shapes, bright colours, and modern synthetic materials, including tubular steel, acrylics, latex foam, fibreglass, foam rubber, and injection-molded plastics. Several of his award-winning product designs eventually were included in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
What are his most famous creations?
- 1952 armchair “Martingala” for arflex
- 1952 sofa “Tripoltrona” for arflex
- 1954 sofa “Sleep-o-matic” for arflex
- 1955 Olivetti buildings in Buenos Aires and San Paolo
- 1960 chair “Lambda” with Richard Sapper for Gavina
- 1962 television “Doney” with Richard Sapper for Brionvega
- 1963 car with Richard Sapper for Alfa Romeo
- 1964 television “Algol” with Richard Sapper for Brionvega
- 1964 armchair “Woodline” and “Fourline” for arflex
- 1964 child’s chair K4999 with Richard Sapper for Kartell
- 1965 Radio TS 502 with Richard Sapper for Brionvega
- 1966 telephone “Grillo” with Richard Sapper for Siemens
- 1969 television “Black” with Richard Sapper for Brionvega
- 1970 table “Marcuso” for Zanotta
- 1970 pen “Hastil” with Richard Sapper for Aurora
- 1974 IBM building in Milano