Rodolfo Bonetto – Italian furniture & industrial designer

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Timer (model 152) 1960 by Rodolfo Bonetto
Timer (model 152) 1960 by Rodolfo Bonetto

Rodolfo Bonetto (1929 – 1991) was Italian furniture and industrial designer.  

Biography

He began his design career at the Pininfarina automobile body design firm. In 1958, he founded his studio. Between 1963-69, he was a member of the ADI (Associazione per il Disegno Industriale) advisory committee and participated in numerous other professional organisations. In 1963 and 1969, he was a member of ADI’s guidance council at the ICSID (International Council of Societies of Industrial Design).  

From 1974, a committee member was a member of the Instituto Superiore’s scientific education per le Industrie Artistiche, Rome. He was a delegate at the 1972 event of ADI at Beda (Brussels), a member of the executive board in 1971 and 1973, vice-president in 1973 and 1976 and president from 1981-83 of the ICSID.

1961-65, he taught in the product-design department, Hochschule für Gestaltung, Ulm.

1971-73, taught at Instituto Superiore Disegno Industriale in Rome. 

He designed more than 400 products for clients, including Driade, Brionvega, Valextra, and Bilumen.

While manifesting the austere Functionalism of the Ulm school, his work exhibited humorous and ironic aspects;

  • 1971 Boomerang polyfoam chair and colourful 1969 Quattro-quarti sectional table (produced 1970-78) by Bernini.

Known for using plastic moulding, his Fiat 132 Bellini moulded interior was acclaimed.

Fiat 132 moulded interior
Fiat 132 moulded interior

Other work included;

  • 1962 sewing machine for Borletti
  • 1963 Sfericlock and timer for Veglia Borletti,
  • 1966 soda dispenser for BRAS
  • 1968 espresso machine for Gaggia,
  • 1969 canister radio for Autovox,
  • 1971 television (with Naoki Matsunaga) for Voxson,
  • 1977 air conditioner for Sime
  • 1971 auto parts for Shell (with Matsunaga) and heavy industrial machinery for Olivetti.
  • 1983 Ala table lamps by Fretelli Guzzini
Timer (model 152) 1960 by Rodolfo Bonetto
Timer (model 152) 1960 by Rodolfo Bonetto
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Sfericlock Alarm Clock 1963 by Rodolfo Bonetto
Sfericlock Alarm Clock 1963 by Rodolfo Bonetto
'T 1228 - Oyster' TV set, 1975 designed by Rodolfo Bonetto
‘T 1228 – Oyster’ TV set, 1975 designed by Rodolfo Bonetto

Recognition

Work is shown in numerous exhibitions. He received in 1964 (Sfericlock), 1967 (Auctor office machine by Olivetti), 1980 (microfilm machine by BCM) Premio Compasso d’Oro, and four others. 

Sources

Byars, M., & Riley, T. (2004). The design encyclopedia. Laurence King Publishing.

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