Rediscovering Claudio Salocchi: A Maestro of Italian Design


Claudio Salocchi (1934 – 2012) | Design Encyclopedia

Bar table with chessboard designed by Claudio Salocchi
Bar table with chessboard designed by Claudio Salocchi

Claudio Salocchi (1934 – 2012) was more than just an Italian architect and designer; he was a luminary who foresaw the future through his designs, merging form, function, and innovation. Active from the 1950s well into the 90s, Salocchi’s impact on Italian design was both profound and far-reaching, yet his work still awaits comprehensive rediscovery and analysis.

The Formative Years and a Lifelong Collaboration

In the early 1960s, Salocchi embarked on a prolific collaboration with entrepreneur Luigi Sormani that would last two decades. This period saw some of his most iconic work, like the revolving bookcase “Centro,” first designed in 1959. Each piece, whether it was furniture or lighting, set a new standard in design that many followed, but few could rival.

Futurism and Functionality

Salocchi was no stranger to using innovative materials and technologies. The “Elisse” series, created in 1966, utilized extruded aluminium profiles, marrying aesthetic appeal with functional value. His “Lia,” a leather cantilever chair made in the same year, was revolutionary in its use of cold-forged aluminium bars for its structure.

Elisse Lamp by Claudio Salocchi, 1960s
Elisse Lamp by Claudio Salocchi, 1960s

One of the salient features of Salocchi’s work was his ability to anticipate societal needs. His 1971 seat, “Appoggio” was designed for diverse situations—work, transport, waiting—reflecting a world in flux.

Innovating the Everyday

Even commonplace items were not spared from Salocchi’s creative touch. In 1971, he designed “Aloa,” one of the very first halogen lamps for domestic use. This was a time when Italian design companies were open to experimentation, and Salocchi did not disappoint.

Lamp Aloa by  Claudio Salocchi
Lamp Aloa by Claudio Salocchi

Lighting the Path

In the 70s and 80s, Salocchi expanded his focus to lighting projects with brand Skipper, pioneering new forms and functionalities. His collaborative work with Lumenform, most notably the blown glass series like “Zea,” brought modularity and aesthetic appeal to domestic lighting.

A Return to Tradition

The mid-80s saw a shift in his design focus as he began a long-standing collaboration with Rossi di Albizzate. His furniture during this period was characterized by a return to more traditional styles, albeit infused with a modern twist.

Handcrafted Transitions

In the 1990s, Salocchi embraced handcrafted productions, particularly with Bottega Gadda and Pierluigi Ghianda. This phase highlighted the symbiotic relationship between design and architecture, bringing back the spirit of Genius loci into a limited and customized series.

A Legacy of Awards and Influence

A member of the Association for Industrial Design (ADI) since 1967, Salocchi was honoured with the Compasso d’Oro in 1979 for his multifunctional cabinet series, MetrOsistema. His influence extended beyond design into the realms of architecture and art, often merging these disciplines in ways that challenged the status quo.


The contributions of Claudio Salocchi to the Italian design landscape are monumental. His ability to anticipate and interpret the transformations of his time into iconic projects sets him apart as a visionary designer. Whether it was furniture, lighting, or architectural projects, Salocchi left an indelible mark that deserves to be fully explored and appreciated for the genius that it is.

So the next time you sit on a modular sofa or switch on a halogen lamp, remember you are, in some ways, enjoying the legacy of Claudio Salocchi’s imaginative brilliance.


Claudio Salocchi. (n.d.). Retrieved October 9, 2023, from

Claudio Salocchi (1934 – 2012) | Design Encyclopedia

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