Posts tagged #Mid Century Italian furniture

20th Century Italian Design part 1: history defines a new movement

We are not surprised that Italian design has reached the highest level of popularity worldwide. We all looking to embellish our homes with wonderful Italian furniture which we stare at, standing fiercely in those beautiful showroom or printed over some of the most popular magazines. It is not anymore perceived as a trend, but more likely as a movement.  And 20th Century Design has made a sharp and impressive come back, with Italian 20th Century Furniture leading the market. As of today, a Beautiful Carlo Mollino wardrobe desktitled “ Psiche Armadio “  is for sale at a famous New York Auction house starting at 250,000$. 

Carlo Mollino "Psiche Armadio" from the Ada and Cesare Minola House, Turin, Circa 1944-46

But how far back Italian design dates? We could historically place the beginning of Italian Design somewhat immediately after a long and dark period, which saw Italy bending on its knees in the middle of the 20th Century: World Wars. It all started because of the Wars. Italy had lost almost everything, but not it’s citizens’ pride, citizens could not wait to start over and fuel back that fire which always had defined them, impatiently looking at a more profitable second half of the 20th Century. Italians needed to get back to work, to open their stores once again, to lead a normal life and to hope for a brighter future. 

The first sign of Design becoming an active part of society had something to do with mobility. In 1945 we were gifted with the first project of a motor scooter, the evergreen Vespa, designed by Corradino D’Ascanio, still an icon in our modern days. But the Vespa was not an isolated great project, because two years later a new exciting product was conceived, this time designed by two aeronautical engineers: the Lambretta scooter by Innocenti. Transportation and mobility also saw the creation of the beautiful and iconic Fiat 500 reflecting how Italian Design may become timeless, and not many remember another interesting project which we can call a predecessor of the Smart, the captivating Isetta compact car by Ermenegildo Preti.  Among other projects we must mention the Berlinetta Cisitalia which will be then permanently exhibited at the Moma Museum of Modern Art in New York City. In 1958 Olivetti who created some of the most technologically engineered aesthetically appealing typewriters such as Letters 22 and Lexicon 80 started a collaboration with Ettore Sottsass. So we have a clear picture on how industry, engineering, architecture were all united into the process of creating new ideas. 

Vespa Motor Scooter 

This need of a new start brought Italy years of economic wealth and the Design set its root into the field of Industrial Design with the creation of mass production affordable and reusable every day objects, made of plastic and other low cost materials. Architects and Engineers were again involved in creating every day objects, from cutlery to furniture for the mass.

 

But when does Italian Design became recognized internationally? We could see its peak in 1972 when the Museum of Modern Art in New York dedicated a whole exhibition named “Italy: the new domestic landscape” . The preface of the catalog started with this sentence: It has been a long -standing assumption of the modern movement that if all man’s products were well designed, harmony and joy would emerge eternally triumphant". Can we still affirm such idea 43 years later?

to be continued on chapter two...stay tuned!

A lovely and elegant console table by Paolo Buffa


When it comes to Mid Century furniture our Italian purchasing manager put a lot of effort in researching unique Mid Century modern  Italian pieces. Our main goal is to select furniture pieces which will blend naturally with customers other contemporary and modern pieces.   During one of the many trips to Italy we have scored a versatile and elegant console table whose design is attributed to Architect Paolo Buffa. 

This beautiful console table dates 1940 but still preserve a modern flair making it versatile and of greater use in a hallway or entryway. There is a neat and meticulous work behind this authentic Mid Century piece. There are 6 practical drawers. The details of this Mid Century console table are shown in the threaded maple borders which extend into the legs as well.

The front drawers are exquisite with maple threads each depicting a maple inlay star beneath the handles. This is a modern Mid Century furniture pieces, authentic Italian Mid Century piece which has been restored in Italy by a third generation Italian restorer. 

 

Our company outsource and import high end Mid Century Modern Italian furniture | Mid Century furniture pieces by architects and designers such as Paolo Buffa, Gio Ponti, Osvaldo Borsani, Marco Zanuso, Lella and Massimo Vignelli, Franco Albini and many more. #Italian #MidCentury #furniture 

Mid Century modern Italian design: The master supremacy of Italy's creations.


A talk with our senior purchasing manager about love, history and beauty of Italian Design.

 

In the course of my career I often find myself answering the same recurring question from my customers- how is it possible that Italians are so great in making amazing furniture? We all know Italian design and creativity is known worldwide but still most people can’t come to terms with this sort of supremacy. I often thought of a simple way to explain this very thin line between beauty and functionality which Italians are able to master at their best.

 The most simple product may be functional but not necessarily meet that aesthetic taste most people seek. Italian design is able to immediately come to terms with these two important factors and blend them effortlessly almost in a seamless way.  There is an explanation, after all, and it is found in the history of our country, Italy, a history which goes way back and prior to the birth of Jesus Christ. 

Like music and art, Italian design has centuries old deep historical and social roots. Italians have lived in a country where everything was already established, constructed and built over the ages and therefore our approach to construction and, more specifically, function was not a prisoner of bare-bone necessity.  Instead, it had latitude and an allowance to be driven by passion for a sense of aesthetic where “beauty” could be reached by going beyond the daily humdrum and routine.  Let’s just think for a moment: since centuries Italians have been educated in aesthetics. They lived in a country where roads were already there, and bridges, aqueducts, big buildings, theaters, museums. Our predecessors built all of those with the intention for us to use them, and thankfully most of them are still in use nowadays. In our history, the great Papacies were funding big public and private works and the wealthy families where hiring sculptors, painters, and artists to embellish their castles and their cities and public spaces. These artists not only exploited aesthetical boundaries but bound them with a sense of functionality that our predecessors, the Romans, already refined.  This is why we have this sense of beauty in our background because we live in it, daily. It’s like having a piano teacher father and an opera singer mother and end up making music the purpose of your life. It’s the country itself, Italy, to make Italians a country of builders and visionaries. Think about this country and its natural wonders, a country which lacks in oil or coal but has always been rich in marbles and travertine natural materials which are perfect for constructions. And think about its landscapes, which are the canvas for magnificent inspiration by the most acclaimed international artists of all times.  

It is with this backdrop that we can come to better understand the roots of the post war mid century Italian design.  A credenza was not just a box to hold dishes and similarly, a sofa was not just a few cushions and a wood frame on which to sit. They had to be more, they had to tell a story, they had to embellish and accentuate the surrounding environment or, at times, they just had to float and disappear into that environment but, above all, they had to be pieces of art standing on their own right. At the root of this focus on form was the fact that most post-war designers were architects by training or highly specialized artisans and craftsmen.  In some cases these designers were cross fertilizing design innovations across industries – be that the automobile industry, furnishings, appliances, graphics etc.   So the end result of this cross fertilization and emphasis on design was the advent of the ‘Made in Italy’ label reflecting a centuries old cultural emphasis on design and quality across multiple products. Unfortunately with the advent of globalization, mass production and the constant search for production efficiencies a lot of this has been lost over the years.  Even Italy and its culture is subject to these new realities, but for those of us who have an admiration for the creative spirit of those times,  the products of Buffa, Ponti, Borsani, Zanuso, Vignellis, are magnificent standard bearers of the true essence of ‘Made in Italy’.

Rita Mantellini

Senior purchasing manager Mid Century Italian furniture