Italian 50’s Industrial Design

Origin of the term “Industrial Design”
Up until the 1930‘s, much of what is today called industrial design was considered “Decorative Art“. It was only after WWII that it became known as “Industrial Design“.


What characterizes the postwar period?

During the second world war a big part of the Italian construction legacy had been destroyed, so it was important to find new ideas to reconstruct the country: this was an interesting challenge for designers and architects who were called to renew Italian dwelling places in a technical and functional way.
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Vico Magistretti, Eclisse
Vico Magistretti, Eclisse (1965)

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Which ideologies characterizes design in 1950’s?

In the 1950’s, Italian design took a crucial turn from the technical, formal and artistic point of view. These projects were known to be very competitive, striving for innovation and creativity.
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What characterizes italian design in 1950?

In 1950’s industrial objects became a symbol of this new renaissance period; Italy suddenly found out that modernity means welfare, comfort and a best type quality of life.
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Ettore Sottsas
Ettore Sottsas, Carlton Room Divider (1981)

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What was produced in this period?

A long series of new projects confirmed this research in terms of functionality and elegance. The research was applied to every day objects, from sewing machines, portable fans, motorcycle goggles, to unusual designs such as slanted soup plates.
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Olivetti, Valentine
Olivetti, Valentine (1968)

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Who were the greatest designers of the 50’s?

Some important names of the period to mention are Franco Albini, Ignazio Gardella, Luigi Caccia Dominioni, Vico Magistretti, Ettore Sottsass, Marco Zanuso, Achille and Piergiacomo Castiglioni and the BBPR group (Banfi, Belgiojoso, Peressutti, Rogers).
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Castiglioni, Arco
Castiglioni, Arco (1962)

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