Meta-Memphis was an Italian furniture manufacturing firm.
Meta-Memphis was set up in 1988 when Ettore Sottsass, the original founder of Memphis (1981—88), decided to close shop, stating that an innovative idea has a life of five to seven years. Ernesto Gismondi, president of Artemide, which originally sold the Memphis line and gave it showroom space, retained ownership of the Memphis name. In 1989 in Venice, Gismondi unveiled what he called ‘Meta-Memphis.’ The initial collection consisted of 20 pieces by ten artist designers (in contrast to Sottsass’s industrial designers), including Sandro Chia, Joseph Kossuth, Lawrence Weiner, and Michelangelo Pistoletto. Sottsass scornfully disapproved of ‘art furniture’ and likewise of Meta-Memphis. The firm’s line was priced as if it were fine art and not limited-production furniture. The old designs from the Memphis collection continued to be produced.
More Italian Designers
Alessandro Mendini (b.1931) Italy’s famous design thinker
Alessandro Mendini (b.1931) played an important part in the development of Italian, Postmodern, and Radical design. He was co-founder of Studio Alchymia (with Alessandro and Adriana Guernero) in 1976. He was awarded several international prizes, including the Compasso d’Oro in 1979, 1981, and 2014. In 2011, he was awarded with the title Doctor Honoris Causa of the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Cachan.
The Olivetti Lettera 22 Typewriter – Lightweight and Compact
Olivetti’s 1950 Olivetti 22 typewriter became the standard for portable typewriters. Marcello Nizzoli’s Typewriter won the Compasso d’Oro at the 10th Triennale in Rome in 1951. Ettore Sottsass would further develop this design in the 1964 Teckne 3.
Proust Armchair (1978) – Luxury Comes in All Forms
The Studio Alchimia in Milan was founded in 1976 and exhibited its first collection in 1979. Alessandro Mendini’s Proust armchair is one of the most unusual pieces from the Bau.Haus collection. It was made in a small number and individually painted to express the collective’s unease with mass production.
Halogen bulbs revolutionised home lighting.
The halogen bulb is the first new invention to completely transform the lighting industry since Thomas Alva Edison succeeded in creating the incandescent lamp by successfully making a loop of carbonized cotton thread glow in a vacuum for 40 hours.
Marco Zotta (b.1945) Italian industrial designer
Marcello Piacentini (1881 – 1961) Italy’s Fascist Architect
Marcello Piacentini (1881–1961) was an Italian urban theorist and one of the leading proponents of Italian Fascist architecture.
Pietro Chiesa (1892 – 1948) 🇮🇹 Italian furniture and glassware
He was an apprentice in the studio of Giovan Battista Gianotti, painter, furniture designer, and decorator; in 1921, opened Bot- tega di Pietro Chiesa, Milan; in 1927, (with Gio Ponti, Michele Marelli, Tomaso Buzzi, Emilio Lancia, and Paolo Venini) founded Il Labirinto, which produced high-quality glassware.
Livio Castiglioni (1911 – 1979) 🇮🇹 Italian industrial designer
In 1938, Castiglioni and his brother Pier Giacomo Castiglioni set up a studio with Luigi Caccia Dominioni, which closed in 1940.
The Moka Express (Design Classic) – simple ☕ coffee making machine
Designed and Made in Italy The Moka Express is a straightforward stovetop coffee maker. It unscrews in the centre, and water is poured into the bottom compartment.
Gino Valle (1923 – 2003) Italian architect, designer and town planner
Lino Tagliapietra (b.1934) Italian Glassworker and Teacher
From 1956, Tagliapietra taught glassmaking with Archimede Seguso and Nane Ferro; 1966—68, designed glass for Venini, Murano; until 1968, for Murrina; from 1968, taught glassmaking at Haystack School and Pilchuck School, Stanwood, Washington.
Franco Deboni (b.1950) Italian architect and glassware designer
He worked for various firms in Italy and Yugoslavia. He received a patent for a bookcase-component system. Clients included Ferro & Lazzarini (glassware) and Italianline. He was best known for his lighting in glass and a mushroom-shaped table lamp in marble; became a member of ADI (Associazione per il Disegno Industriale); was author of Venini Glass (1990) and the manager of an art auction house.
Gillo Dorfles (1910 – 2018) Italian art critic, painter, and philosopher
Gillo Dorfles (1910 – 2018) was an Italian art critic, painter, and philosopher. He was born in Trieste and active in Milan.
Ambrogio Pozzi (b.1931) Italian Industrial Designer
He worked in the family firm Ceramica Franco Pozzi in Gallarate from 1951 and redesigned its traditional products in an award-winning Functional style. His widely published 1970 Compact stacking coffee service was designed for machine production in three sizes. He set up his design practice, where clients included Riedel, Rossi, Guzzini, Pierre Cardin, Rosenthal, Norex, La Rinascente department store, and Alitalia.
Bruno Gregori (b.1954) Italian Furniture Designer
He was one of the founders of Alchimia in 1976. He was particularly active in its graphics program
Carlo Zen (1851 – 1918) Italian Cabinetmaker
From cl1880, Zen directed the most crucial furniture workshop in Milan. He was active in the stile floreale, continued after the 1902 Turin ‘Esposizione Internazionale d’Arte Decorativa Moderna’ to be known for his Art Nouveau and Symbolist motifs. He was not a designer himself but instead a factory owner and manager. From 1898, his firm was associated with Haas of Vienna, whose designers included Otto Eckmann.
Daniela Puppa (b.1947) eclectic Italian architect and designer
From 1977 to 1983, he worked as the chief editor of the design magazine Modo and as a consultant for the fashion magazine Donna. She designed interiors for Driade, Gianfranco Ferré, Montres and GFF Duty Free, Fontana Arte, Granciclismo sports machines, and Morassutti/Metropolis, as well as serving as an image and product consultant for the Croff/Rinascente chain.
Roberto Lucci (b.1942) Italian Furniture Designer
Franco Albini (1905-1977) Italian Architect and Designer
Franco Albini’s design work encompassed a wide variety of disciplines, including furniture, interior, and product design, architecture, planning, and museum design.
Laura Griziotti (b.1942) Italian Architect & Designer
She began her professional career in 1967; became a member of ADI (Associazione per il Disegno Industriale); 1967—74, she collaborated with architect and designer Cini Boeri. In 1974, she set up her studio in Milan; participated in the planning of the 1971 industrial design exhibition of ADI at the Design Centre, Brussels.
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