Massimo Vignelli (1931)

Italian industrial, furniture, graphic, corporate identity and exhibition designer; born Milan, active Italy and the United States.


Vignelli studied architecture, first at the famed Politecnico of his native Milan, and then in Venice, taking his degree in 1957. After working several years for the glass manufacturer Venini, he opened an office of his own in 1960.

By 1965, Vignelli, along with his wife and collaborator Lella, had moved to New York, where they, along with a group of other designers, founded the corporate identity studio Unimark. By 1971, Massimo and Lella had opened their own studio, Vigenelli Associates.

Currently active, it has remained a major presence in the design world. Their corporate identity work for Knoll in 1972 made them internationally famous; they went on to create logotypes and identities for other notable clients, including American Airlines, Ford, Xerox, Lancia, Bloomingdale┬┤s, and the International Design Center of New York.

Vignelli has also enjoyed a distinguished career as a designer of furniture and objects. His work includes the Saratoga sofa (1964) for Poltronova, glassware and cutlery for Ciga hotels (1979), worldwide showrooms for Artemide, and also glassware, ceramics, furniture, and jewelry.

Vignelli and his firm have been widely honored. A member of ADI (Associazione per il Disegno Industriale), his awards and citations are numerous: Highlights include honorary degrees from The Parsons School of Design in New York, Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, and the Rhode Island School of Design; the 1964 Compasso d'oro, the Triennalle di Milano grand prize, the first Presidential Design Achievement award from the United States Government, election in 1988 to Interior Design magazine┬┤s hall of fame, and the 1991 National Arts Club Gold Medal of Design.

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