Rare Books

"Joe Colombo and Italian Design of The Sixties" Favata, Ignazia [commentary and catalogue]


[126] pp.

11.25" x 9.25"

The MIT Press

During his short but highly productive career, Joe Colombo (1930-1971) became one of the most inventive stars of Italian design. His work was consistently brilliant and always formally "right," displaying the ingenuity and technical finish that has made his name synonymous with the "sixties style" that became known worldwide.

This book documents in sketches, drawings, photographs, models, and prototypes all of Colombo's 51 production projects and contains a complete catalog of his works. Vittorio Fagone places Colombo in the European design context and Ignazio Valentini offers an intriguing portrait of this complex man.

Beginning his career as an architect and painter, Joe Colombo moved quickly into interiors and then into designing functional objects. His special talent was in producing spacesaving, compact designs at affordable prices for kitchens, wardrobes, and studios. Virtually all of the objects he created were designed for mass production and consumption.

Here are the series of "Colombo classics" produced during the 1960s the molded plastic Elda chair for Kartell, curved Perspex lamps for O-Luce, and placeware setting for Alitalia; the plastic storage trolley and minikitchen on castors which were among the first successful mobile units with many possible functions; and the later experiments with flexible living spaces and flexible seating that were designed to accommodate the complexities of the modern habitat.

Vittorio Fagone is an art historian and critic of contemporary art. He is on the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Milan and a Visiting Professor in the Art Department at New York University. Ignazia Favata Valentini is a professor of engineering at the University of Milan. She was Joe Colombo's assistant from 1968 until his death and now manages and owns the Joe Colombo studio and is curator of the Joe Colombo archive.

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