While in Italy for a large press event regarding the 50th Salone Del Mobile, I took the opportunity to visit Kartell's headquarters in Noviglio, just outside of Milan. In a rambling campus of orange steel and glazed brick buildings designed by Ignazio Gardella and Anna Castelli Ferrieri, the company opened a corporate museum in 1999 to mark their 50th anniversary. Led by Claudio Luti since 1988, Kartell is best known for realizing a wide range of designs from an international roster of superstar designers. Less well known today is the company's history of innovation during the postwar years, and the role a select group of Italian designers and engineers would play in the 20th century's plastic revolution. What follows is a look at some of the company's outstanding vintage designs.
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In production for nearly thirty years, the Componibili is an iconic piece of plastic modular furniture that is counted among MoMA's permanent collection of furnishings. Available in various sizes, it is designed to be stacked or grouped together via a tongue-and-groove system, enabling a variety of configurations.
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- The legacy of mid-century designer Joe Colombo is underscored with a reissue of his plywood 4801 chair, now appearing for the first time in plastic from Italian furniture company Kartell.
- West of Piombino Dese, in Bovezzo, the well-tended Glo-Balls meet the other parts of the lamp: laminated tubular steel stands, bases, and electronic components sourced in Milan.
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- Dwell is in Milan this week, reporting on the furniture industry's biggest design fair, Salone Internazionale del Mobile.
- Hello, sports fans! That's right: Milan's annual design fair happens next week, and it's big, bad, and enough of an endurance test to qualify as spring training.