Enzo Mari

Enzo Mari studied literature and art at the Accademia di Brera in Milan from 1952 until 1956. Entirely self-taught, Enzo Mari began to submit designs to industry; in 1957 Enzo Mari designed his first object for Danese. At an early age Enzo Mari was seriously interested in the psychology of visual perception. Sociological and perceptual aspects played an important theoretical role in Mari’s work. Not content with being just an artist and industrial designer, Enzo Mari was always preoccupied with the role of object design in everyday living and the function of the designer. Between 1963 and 1966 Enzo Mari taught at the Scuola Umanitaria in Milan. As a design theorist, Enzo Mari exerted an enormous influence, continuing to teach at numerous universities and institutes in Italy and abroad throughout his career. In 1970 his book “Funzione della ricerca estetica” was published, in 2001 Enzo Mari published another: “Progetto e Passione”. Enzo Mari expected every designer “to define his own model of an ideal world.” A designer not only had the task of designing aesthetically satisfying products for mass production; each and every design had to be useful, serve a purpose, and do justice to the materials used. In 1971 Enzo Mari took part in the exhibition “Italy – The New Domestic Landscape” at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. From 1976 to 1979 Enzo Mari was chairman of the Associazione per il Disegno Industriale (ADI). Of the vast number (over 1500) of objects Enzo Mari designed for firms such as Danese, Driade, Adelphi, Alessi, Artemide, Gabbianelli, Ideal Standard, Interflex, Le Creuset, KPM, Olivetti, Rosenthal, Zanotta, and many others, the best-known Enzo Ari designs are sure to be “Putrella” (1958), a dish made from a single piece of steel girder, the double conical plastic vase “Pago-Pago” (1969), which can also be used upside-down as a vase, the tilted wastepaper basket “In Attesa” (1970), the chair “Sof-Sof” (1971), “Delfina” (1974), another chair, this time with seat and back made of sailcloth held together with zippers, the wall calendar “Formosa” (1970), the filing system “Sumatra” (1976), and “Giglio” (1985), a metal letter opener.

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