Vico Magistretti (1920)

Italian architect, designer and urban planner, born and active Milan.


As did many of his notable contemporaries, Magistretti attended the Politecnico di Milano, where he took an architecture degree. In 1945 he began work at his father´s firm, and for the following ten years, he focused almost exclusively on the design of buildings and interiors. He achieved celebrity in 1959, with his design for a golf club in Carimate, near Milan: For the project, Magistretti created a simple, brightly-stained wooden chair with a woven rush seat; a fresh interpretation of a vernacular style. The chair quickly attracted the attention of Cesare Cassina, who was so taken by its witty design that he began mass producing it.

Thereafter, Magistretti began designing consumer products with greater frequency; his output has been prodigious, and nearly 80% of his designs since the early 1960s are still in production. Other important works include Chair 892 (1963), the Eclisse lamp (1965), the Stadio table (1970), and the Atollo lamp (1977). His products helped to ligitimize plastic as a material for serious design.

Magistretti has participated in nearly every Trienale di Milano held since 1948, and his work was included in the Philadelphia Museum of Art´s notable "Design Since 1945" exhibition. He won the coveted Compasso d'Oro in 1967. Magistretti currently serves as honorary professor and senior fellow of the Royal College of Art in London. He still works out of the small studio founded by his father.

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