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.

Eclisse table lamp
Eclisse table lamp by Vico Magistretti for Artemide. Designed by Magistretti in 1967

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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.

 1964 television “Algol”
 1964 televisionAlgol” with Richard Sapper for Brionvega

Image source: by dr vaxon

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.

Carlton room divider
Carlton room divider by Ettore Sottsass for Memphis, 1981

Image source: by charlotte henard

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.

Typewriter Valentine (1969)
Typewriter Valentine (1969), by Ettore Sottsass (1917–2007)

Image source: by pabsanch

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).

Maralunga sofa
Maralunga sofa by Vico Magistretti for Cassina, 1970s

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Splügen lamp
Splügen lamp , by  Achille e Pier Giacomo Castiglioni

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Flos Taccia table lamp
Flos Taccia table lamp, by Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni.

Image source: by ninahale

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