The history of Italian 20th century design presents a group of multifaceted personalities who have been able to move with ease between the various fields, encouraging links between disciplines, like Gio Ponti did with Piero Fornasetti, flanked by friends such as Bruno Munari, known for the pleasant ambiguity that springs from his imaginative works, which, however functional, are never lacking in poetry, and therefore remain suspended and not easy to label.
It was characters such as Ponti and Munari who intercepted the energies coming from different disciplines and conveying them in unique and eclectic collaborations and projects. For example, we discovered that in 1956 it was Munari who approached Joe Colombo, whose work was rooted in the artistic experiences of the nuclear art movement, and introduced him to MAC / Espace, an association that aimed to the enhancement of art within the industrial design process. In fact, it was from this point onwards that Colombo embarked on the designer career that led him to the creation of his unmistakably futuristic furniture.
Then there is Enzo Mari who recently passed away at the age of 88: coming from a totally artistic background, Mari aimed to put beauty at the center of each of his creations: exploiting the use of technological procedures in order to create engaging experiences, he always placed the consumers at the center of the work, making them an active protagonist and manipulator of the object.
Even when the shape of a piece of furniture is purely subservient to functionality, this does not mean that this piece cannot reveal an artistic impulse through a particular finish, through carefully balanced proportions or more explicitly, through the printing of a work of art on its surface. This is the case of the sideboards by artist Sandro Chia, one of the most important members of the Transavanguardia movement, created in 2009 for Cleto Munari Design Associati.
Beyond all the debates and theories remain the anecdotes and stories handed down by designers and brand directors we came across when analyzing furniture versus art. Thus we discover that Dino Gavina, founder of the prestigious brands Gavina SpA and Flos, used to attribute the merit of his entrepreneurial successes to the meeting with artist Lucio Fontana in the '50s, an occasion that introduced Gavina to the world of the 20th century artistic avant-gardes. From Gavina's acquaintance with artist Roberto Sebastian Matta among others, the modular system of armchairs Malitte was born in 1965: its elements, evocative of the sinuous shapes of Surrealism, can be combined vertically to form a dynamic and playful sculpture.