Tito Agnoli

Born in Lima, Peru in 1931, Agnoli was educated in architecture in Milan. He was assistant to Ponti and De Carlo and was a teacher himself at the Istituto d’Arte. His collaboration with Poltrona Frau in1974. The commercially successful artist has been nominated twice for the Compasso d’Oro and has been awarded the gold metal at Neocon in Chicago.

Franco Albini

Born in 1905, the designer started his professional career working for Gio Ponti in 1929. In 1931 he set up his own practice in Milan and addressed the issue of worker’s housing and continued with this issue until after the war. Working with Cassina in the 1940’s he started to design the chairs that would pave the way for his signature style. He also worked with other firms, including Poggi. He has won numerous awards including the La Rinascente-Compasso d’Oro for the design of his “Luisa” chair in 1955 and the Bronze Medal from the Parson School in NYC for his contribution to industrial design in 1956.

Fontana Arte

In 1932 the celebrated Architect Gio Ponti bacame artistic director for the important art glass company of Luigi Fontana founded in 1881. A special furnace was installed in Milan which was the only one in Italy which could reliably curve crystal sheet. Other branches of Fontana Arte were opened making custom designed pieces of furniture and lighting of exceptional quality. Their workshops employed the most expert glass craftsmen. They were joined by Pietro Chiesa, a designer of great skill and man of culture. In 1954 Max Ingrand became artistic director and this heralded a new creativity for the company and expansion of their endeavours. They have continued this tradition to this day of employing the finest Architects as artistic directors and still produce work of quality and style.

Gae Aulenti

Born in 1927 in Palazzolo dello Stella, Italy. In 1954, she was one of two women in a class of 20 to graduate from the milan Polytechnic School of Architecture. Soon after she joined the staff of design magazine, Casabella. She rejected, along with her peers, the architecture of masters Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe and Walter Gropius, calling themselves the “Neo-Liberty” movement. She taught at universities in Milan and Venice. She also started doing a few interior design projects and designing furniture. Lighting was another passion she explored when she designed the sets for many opera houses across Europe. She created a space in the national Museum of Modern Art at the Georges Pompidou Center in Paris, restored the Palazzo Grassi in Venice as an art museum and in San Francisco, she converted the city’s old main Library into a museum of Asian art.

Milo Baughman

Born in 1923, this native Californian, was a pioneer of modern design. His designs are classic, enduring and uniquely American. Their relaxed and unpretentious designs possess a timeless quality that is still highly desirable and collected today. His work was included in “High Styles: Twentieth Century American Desin” at the Whitney Museum of American Art. In 1987, Baughman was inducted into the Furniture Hall of Fame.

Mario Bellini

Born in 1935, this Italian architect worked in urban planing as well as product and furniture design. He graduated form the Milan Polytechnic in the early 1960’s. He was the chief design consultant for Olivetti. His business machine designs are in MoMA along side his designs for B&B, Vitra and “cab” chair for Cassina. He has won 8 Compasso d’Oro Awards.

Harry Bertoia

Born in 1915 in San Lorenzo, Italy, Harry came to the United States in 1930. In 1939, while studying at Cranbrook Academy, Harry was asked to re-open the metal working department. Since it was wartime and metal was scarce he often designed jewelry, even designing wedding rings for Charles and Ray Eames. As a sculptor, Bertoia created abstract freestanding metal works, many of which resonated with sound when touched or other elements that chimed in the wind. As a furniture designer he is best know for the “Diamond” chair and the higher backed “Bird’ chair. His organic and human friendly designs helped create the new look of ‘Modernism”. Bertoia has received awards from both American Institute of Architects and american Academy of Letters.

Osvaldo Borsani

Born in 1911, the Italian designer founded with his twin brother, the company Tecno in 1953 that became known for its technological approach of furniture design. The company conceived the highly famous rubber-armed P40 chaise longue that was able to assume more than 400 hundred postures. His pieces perfectly balance between lines and curves, function and elegance, lightness and robustness.

Paolo Buffa

The Milanese architect and designer was born in 1903. The son of a well-regarded artist, Buffa was something of a prodigy. In the late ’20s, after graduating from the Politecnico di Milano, he was briefly employed by architect Gio Ponti, then quickly struck out on his own. On the eve of World War II, King Zog of Albania hired him to decorate the palace in Tirana (Buffa’s plans were rejected by the queen), and in 1951 King Farouk of Egypt ordered a makeover of his yacht. For Roberto Farinacci, a notoriously thuggish Fascist leader known as Mr. Nitroglycerine, Buffa conjured a meltingly lovely salon, where a star-studded ceiling hovered high above pale-violet skirted sofas and cabinets bearing lively inlaid geometric motifs.

Luigi Caccia Dominioni

Born in Milan in 1913, he graduated in architecture from the Polytechnic of Milan in 1936 and in the same year he started his activity in Venice together with Livio and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni, winning the competition held at the Vimercate School. In the field of Industrial design he was considered a “pioneer” when he presented at the VII Triennial in Milan a series of radios designed together with the Castiglioni brothers. In the ’50s he set up, together with Gardella and Corradi, Azucena which is a collection of the furniture and objects he designed. The “Caccia” cutlery he designed are shown at the Museum of Modern Art of New York.

Wendell Castle

Born in 1932, the American designer has been blurring the boarders between design and sculpture since the 1960s with his organic and often whimsical creations. He has continuously reinvented his art from his hand shaped stack-laminated wood pieces infused by traditional American arts and crafts to his colourful gel-coated fibreglass designs that evoke a fanciful, cartoon-like environment believing that ‘the best pieces live on their own…not because of the craftsmanship or the material but, what they are – their presence.

Achille Castiglioni

Born in Milan in 1918, Castiglioni started work as an architect and designer with his brothers Livio and Pier Giacomo in 1938. One of the great masters of Italian design, Achille Castiglioni was a founding member of ADI in the fifties. The long list of awards he has received include eight Compassi d’Oro. Achille Castiglioni’s activity as a designer is an unmistakable blend of simplicity, irony and fun and it shows his close interest in the way objects are used, in the potential offered by technology and in the use of new materials.

Lynn Chadwick

Born in London and trained as an architect. Following war service as a pilot with the Fleet Air Arm he began experimenting with sculpture in 1945 and held his first solo exhibition at Gimpel Fils, London in 1950. His work was shown at the 1952 and 1956 Venice Biennales and at the 1957 and 1962 São Paulo Bienals. In 1953 he was one of 12 semi-finalists for the Unknown Prisoner Competition, organised by the Institute of Contemporary Arts and shown at the Tate Gallery in London; he was awarded an honourable mention. He undertook many public commissions and in 1988 was invited by the Director of the XLIII Venice Biennale to contribute a bronze, Back to Venice to the International Sculpture Survey.

Ad Chale

Born in Belgium in 1928, Chale gained an international reputation, making art furniture that incorporates exotic minerals and for his intricate metal work. The son of a cabinetmaker he studied ironwork and it was on a trip to Frankfurt in 1965 that he discovered a minerals shop. On his return to Brussels he opened his own shop, but instead of selling the ‘raw materials’ he began to incorporate them in his unique pieces of furniture. His work is now included in public collections around the world.

Maison Charles

Founded in 1908 in Paris by Ernest Charles working primarily with bronze , making reproductions of antique lighting. In the 1950s they moved into creating their own fanciful designs such as pineapples, coral, corn on the cobs and other floral themes such as lotus flowers and sun flowers. All these pieces were characterized by attention to detail and quality of execution. Due to their quality and style the pieces were always sought after and expensive.

Henry Cliffe

Born in Scarborough, Yorkshire, and studied at the local art school and at Bath Academy of Art. He ran the lithography studio at Bath from 1950 until his retirement in 1981. He was a regular exhibitor in international print exhibitions and in 1960 was one of five artists shown in the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. His early works seemed derived from both Surrealism and the neo-romantic English landscape school of the1940s. Throughout the 1950s Cliffe’s work became more concerned with the relationship between the human figure and the landscape and in 1959 a suite of lithographs on this theme was published by the St George’s Gallery, London.

Joe Columbo

Born in Milan, Cesare Colombo, is better know as Joe Colombo. He was one of the most successful designers of the 20th century. After studying at the academy arts Brera and architecture at Politecnica, Colombo opened his own design studio in 1952. A pioneer in flexibility and multi-functional design he focused on the new design material, plastic. The Stackable Chair 4860 (4867 Chair Today) that he designed for the company Kartell was therefore the first seat for adults, that was completely made out of injection-molding ABS plastic. By 1969 three objects he designed were part of the continuous collection of MoMa.

Michele De Lucchi

Born in 1951 in Ferrara and graduated in architecture in Florence. During the period of radical and experimental architecture he was a prominent figure in movements like Cavart, Alchymia and Memphis. De Lucchi has designed furniture for the most known Italian and European companies. For Olivetti he has been Director of Design from 1992 to 2002 and he developed experimental projects for Compaq Computers, Philips, Siemens and Vitra.

Tom Dixon

Born in 1959, the self-taught British designer infuses a punk aesthetic to his creations as a result of his experience as a bass player in 1980s London. The home-made creativity he developed with his music band influenced what he now does with objects. Designing limited series of artistic-like works, he nevertheless rejected the commercial aspect of his activity, being the creative director of the global group Habitat from 1998 to 2007. Inspired by British industrial patrimony, he imagines pieces that link historicism and technological processes, featuring sleek, straight and airy lines. The ‘vertebrate designer designs from the bones outwards and is not really interested in surface’: design that looks at the body bypassing the flesh.

André Dubreuil

Born in 1951,is a leading figure in the realm of contemporary decorative arts. The artist was born in Lyon, France, and was educated in London at the Inchbald School of Design. Since then he has traveled extensively to various nations, observing the craft and design products of different cultures as he goes. Made famous in 1986 by his “Spine” chair, Dubreuil has proven himself to be an inventive and innovative designer, experimenting with shape, structure, and materials to produce furniture, ceramics, and lighting that play with and simultaneously break from customary designs. The artist has been influenced by classical European and Asian antiquities, but is not known to produce objects that could be categorized as traditional craft.

Rob Eckhardt

Born in 1953 Eckhardt studied at the department of Architecture on the former Polytechnic of Delft, Rob Eckhardt settled as an independent architect in 1980. At that time the furniture industry had reached a dead end and showed little interest. This was a reason for Eckhardt to open his own shop in 1982 in order to sell his designs by himself.

Paul Evans

Born in 1931 in Pennsylvania, North American Evans is one of the most important Twentieth Century furniture designers. He studied sculpture, metalwork, silver and gold smithing at the Cranbrook Academy of Art. Working with metal was his great love and he began making metal furniture which he exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Crafts in New York in 1957. In 1964 he was appointed designer to the furniture maker Directional and his imagination knew no bounds. He worked with burl wood, often combining it with metal, making furniture that was sculpture in its own right. Other pieces were of a more brutal style in welded metal sometimes decorated with abstract sculptural elements, such as the sculpted bronze series, whilst other metal pieces, notably the popular Cityscape series, were more subtle. Many pieces were signed or initialed and often dated.

Piero Fornasetti

Born in 1913, The Italian designer was all at once: a painter, graphic designer, sculptor, decorator and an engraver. He is known for his whimsical objects and furniture that mix classic, surrealist and baroque inspirations. He conceived an incredibly prolific production affixing his fanciful and playful touch on numerous supports. The representation of the soprano, Lina Cavalieri’s face, ‘la donna la piu bella del mondo’, became his signature ornament.

Pedro Friedeberg

Born in 1936, Mexican artist and designer known for his surrealist work filled with lines colors and ancient and religious symbols. His best known piece is the “Hand-Chair” a sculpture/chair designed for people to sit on the palm, using the fingers as back and arm rests. Friedeberg began studying as an architect but did not complete his studies as he began to draw designs against the conventional forms of the 1950s and even completely implausible ones such as houses with artichoke roofs. However, his work caught the attention of artist Mathias Goeritz who encouraged him to continue as an artist. Friedeberg became part of a group of surrealist artists in Mexico which included Leonora Carrington and Alice Rahon, who were irreverent, rejecting the social and political art which was dominant at the time. Friedeberg has had a lifelong reputation for being eccentric, and states that art is dead because nothing new is being produced.

Gabetti & Isola

Roberto Gabetti (1925-2000, Turin, Italy) was an architect and a professor. He opened an architecture firm with Aimaro d’Isola (b. 1928) in Turin in the 1950s. They broke with the ideological prejudices and figurative characteristics of the time and focused on technological experimentation becoming prominent members of the new Neoliberty movement. Aimaro continues the firm with his son, Xavier.

Elizabeth Garouste & Mattia Bonetti

Their partnership started in 1980. Elizabeth garouste and Mattia Bonetti came from different countries. Elizabeth studied in Paris at the Ecole Alsacienne and Mattia, a Swiss, had studied in the Ecole des Arts Appliques a l’Industrie in Lugano. She expressed herself through her art and he was interested in the fashion side of the textile business in Italy. Their work together defied categorization, they were neither craftsmen or artists. In 1986 things really changed for them when Christian Lacroix commissioned them to decorate his couture house and boutiques. Followed soon after by commissions from Bernard Picasso and Nina Ricci. “What interests us is the outer frontier of good taste, the zone where kitsch & chic collide…somewhere between Marie-Antoinette and Africa.”

Pierre Guariche

Born in 1926, the French designer is best known for his high-quality affordable, rational and industrial lightings and furniture. Pierre Guariche specialized in chairs, inventing, in 1954, the first moulded plywood chair: the “Tonneau”. Seeing himself first as an architect, he also designed many private and public spaces as well as several ski stations, rapidly expanding then, with an emphasis on form and volume.

Max Ingrand

Born in 1908 in Bressuire France and became a master glassmaker, honoured by being awarded the French Legion of Honour. He studied at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris studying Decorative Arts. He was awarded commissions to design stained glass windows for the Cathederal of Notre Dame and numerous other important French cathederals. He also undertook foreign commissions such as decoration of the Palace of Prince Asaka in Tokyo, and various commissions for cathederals in Washington in the United States and also in Quebec. In 1956 he became artistic director of the importantant glass making company in Italy, Fontana Arte.

Arne Jacobsen

Born in 1902, the Danish architect and designer combined modernist principles and a Nordic love for nature with an obsession in finding the perfect proportions. His creations feature simple, elegant and functional forms associated to natural and cosy materials that bear a contradictory timeless futuristic allure. His primary concern was to ensure his designs could be use in the most logical way possible: dictating a whole instinctive experience.

Pierre Jeanneret

Born in Switzerland in 1896 and is best know for his collaborations with his cousin Le Corbusier including the Villa Savoy in Poissy, France and the Grand Modele seating colection. being on opposite sides of the war in 1940 the duo split-up but joined forces again in 1950 to design the first planned city in India. Pierre became a revered figure in Indian architecture.

Curtis Jere

Curtis Jere is the nom de plume for a design group formed and directed by Jerry Fels and Curtis Freiler who set up a design company Artisan House which they subsequently sold. Prior to Artisan House the partners designed jewellery.Jerry Fels specialized in the design and sales and Freiler ran production.Curtis Jere is the trademark used on the metal sculpture and the company became a consortium of artists and apprentices in California in the 1970s overseen by a master sculptor. Curtis Jere is the nom de plume for a design group formed and directed by Jerry Fels and Curtis Freiler who set up a design company Artisan House which they subsequently sold. Prior to Artisan House the partners designed jewellery.Jerry Fels specialized in the design and sales and Freiler ran production.Curtis Jere is the trademark used on the metal sculpture and the company became a consortium of artists and apprentices in California in the 1970s overseen by a master sculptor.

Poul Kjaerholm

Born in 1929, trained as carpenter and continued his studies at the Danish School of Arts and Crafts. He had a particular interest in different construction materials; especially steel which he considered a natural material with the same artistic fineness as other natural materials. Poul Kjærholm was employed at Fritz Hansen for about a year, where he designed a number of noteworthy chair prototypes. In 1955 Poul Kjærholm initiated his collaboration with manufacturer Ejvind Kold Christensen, which lasted until Poul Kjærholm’s death in 1980.

Friso Kramer

The Dutch designer was born in 1922, his ideas and designs have helped propel the modernist aesthetic of the Netherlands. The 1953 chair the “Revolt” with it’s rounded seat and slightly cupped back became a popular icon of Dutch style. Kramer designed the popular MEHES series of office furniture in 1972 for the Ahrend/Oda Company. The name was an acronym for the needs he had outlined as those of priority within an office: mobility, efficiency, humanization, environment and standardization.

Hubert Le Gall

Le Gall’s work is a bold combination of sophisticated and playful. Inspired by the likes of Salvador Dali, Jean Cocteau, the Surrealists and Max Ernst, Le Gall introduces humor and beauty into every day life. Self-taught as an artist and sculptor before delving into design, uses classic materials to create pieces that inspire laughter and enchantment, while being meticulously crafted.

Angelo Lelii

Little is known about Angelo Lelii, one of the greatest designers of the last century. Even about the spelling of his name (Lelli or Lelii) there is a lot of confusion. It is known that he died in 1989 but where or when he was born is still a mystery. And yet together with Gino Sarfatti he is to be regarded as one of the protagonists of modern lighting design in Italy. He was responsible for the design and manufacture within his company Arredoluce of hundreds of beautiful lamps which have found their way into homes of collectors and nowadays still fascinate thousands of people all over the world resulting in high prices at the important auction houses. Amongst all his design the 1955 model 12128, Triennale might be regarded the most famous.

Vico Magistretti

Born in 1920, was an Italian industrial designer, known as a furniture designer and architect. A collaborator of humanist architect Ernesto Nathan Rogers, one of Magistretti’s first projects was the “poetic” round church in the experimental Milan neighborhood of QT8. He later designed mass-produced appliances and furniture for companies such as Cassina S.p.A. and won several awards, including the Gold Medal of the Chartered Society of Industrial Artists & Designers in 1986.

Angelo Mangiarotti

Born in 1921 & In 1955, the Italian designer founds a design studio with Bruno Morassutti. He prioritizes the material, in design and architecture, that has to speak for itself and stand as the only adornment of his creations. He therefore dares to use majestic marbles, precious Murano glass as well as plastic. His pieces feature elegant and clean lines that perfectly meld into their environment, ‘never forgetting the real needs of users.’

Elio Martinelli

Born in Tuscany in 1921, Martinelli studied as a set designer at the Institute of Fine Arts in Florence before he began contributing to his father’s business within the lighting sector. Using the experience gained from several years of set design, Martinelli focused originally on interior design and on fittings for retail outlets, restaurants, hotels and public houses. Constantly working to deadlines, Martinelli began designing and installing his own lighting systems in the premises he was outfitting. This led to the development of what would become Martinelli Luce in the 1950s, now a world-renowned manufacturer of lighting systems.

Mathieu Mategot

Born in 1910, Mategot was a Hungarian designer and architect. After studying at Budapest’s school of art and architecture, he settled in France in 1931. He was a volunteer in the French army, was captured and not released until 1944. After returning home, he started producing handmade furniture in Paris. Matégot’s organic forms and lightness of touch create a sense of joy and the ground breaking and innovative techniques that he applied resulted in unique aesthetics and furniture designs. He was the first person to combine metal tubing with perforated sheet metal; ritigulle, a technique he patented and also a pairing that particularly characterizes his work.

Serge Mouille

Known primarily for his work as a designer of lighting fixtures, Serge Mouille (1922-1988) received a master silversmith diploma from the School of Applied Arts in Paris. He studied and work with silversmith and sculptor Gilbert LaCroix. In 1945 Mouille himself became a teacher at the School of Applied Arts and opened his own metalworking studio. In 1953 Jacques Adnet hired him to design lighting fixtures, an art to which he devoted the rest of his life.

Throughout the 1950s Mouille designed large, angular, insect-like wall mounted and standing lamps with several arms and smaller, more curved wall-sconces. Some of his best known designs from the period are his “Oeil” lamp (1953), “Flammes” (1954) and “Saturn” (1958). He worked to achieve a kinetic, sculptural aesthetic that evoked a sense of movement in space. He also claimed his lighting fixtures were “a reaction to the Italian models, which were beginning to invade the market in 1950,” and which he thought to be “too complicated.”

Verner Panton

Born in 1926, the Danish designer opened his own studio in 1955, conceiving pieces that would combine hi-tech materials, futuristic shapes and bright tones. He experimented design with new forms and materials and an original way of apprehending the spatial environment: he therefore designed, in 1960, the first stackable chair made of a unique bloc of moulded plastic that has since become a legendary piece. Highly committed to the importance of colours within his work, he declared, ‘choosing colours should not be a gamble. It should be a conscious decision. Colours have a meaning and a function.’

Tommi Parzinger

born in Munich and received professional design training there at the school of art and craft, Kunstgewerbeschule. He began his career as a freelance designer of ceramics, wallpapers, lighting, textiles, furniture. He traveled and worked in Germany and Austria, becoming familiar with the modern movements of the day including the Jugendstijl, the Bauhaus, and the Wiener Werkstatte.As a professional designer in Germany he created porcelain for the German firm KPM, as well as posters, textiles, interiors and wallpapers. In 1932 he came to the United Stated as a prize for winning a poster contest for North German Lloyd. In 1935, he settled in New York and became associated with Rena Rosenthal (“smart furniture and accessories shop”) as a designer of china, glassware and furniture. Furniture became his primary focus and in 1938 he became a designer for Charak of Boston. In 1939, he formed his own business, Parzinger, Inc., renamed Parzinger Originals in 1946. Donald Cameron became his partner. In addition, he designed furniture, fabrics, lighting and range of accessories for other firms, including Salterini (wrought iron); Hofstatter (furniture); Dorlyn (brass); Willow & Reed (rattan). He produced custom designs for interior decorators and his many private clients. Parzinger furnishings changed very little over the years. Rooted in Viennese style, the main characteristics of the furniture were simplicity and a sense of proportion, rich wood textures ornamented with handmade hardware.

Pierre Paulin

Born in 1927 in Paris and became one of the most important French designers of the Twentieth Century. In 1952 his work came to the attention of the renowned furniture company Thonet with whose support he explored modern materials and techniques in the manner of his American compatriots such as Eames and Saarinen. He was then invited to join Artifort in 1956 whom again supported his work in the exploration of style and form. He was awarded many prestigious commissions such as collaborating to renovate a wing of the Louvre Museum and the private apartments of Georges Pompidou at the Eleysee Palace and later to create furniture for the Office of Francois Mitterand. Although designing for the elite of French culture he was also instrumental in bringing good design to the masses with his emphasis on rigorous design and lack of excessive ornamentation.

Adrian Pearsall

American born (1925) designer & architect helped usher in the “Atomic Age” with the creation of his Craft Associates furniture company. Originally started in his basement it became a successful company credited with bringing high style to the masses. His designs included low gondola sofas and free-form walnut and glass coffee tables. In 2008 he was nominated for inclusion in the American Furniture Hall of Fame.

Maria Pergay

Born in 1930, Paris-based designer Maria Pergay is known for her innovative use of stainless steel—a passion that began in the 1960s and has continued into her eighties. Born in Romania of Russian-Jewish descent, Pergay escaped to Paris with her mother at age six at the onset of WWII. After the war, Pergay studied costume, set design, and sculpture, and opened a shop in Paris’s Place des Vosges to sell her decorative silver objects. Upon a commission to work with steel, Pergay began to create her now iconic stainless steel furniture, with her first collection including the renowned Flying Carpet daybed (1968) and the Ring chair (1970). Pergay went on to design palace interiors for Saudi Arabia’s Royal family and furniture for fashion designer Pierre Cardin, continually evolving her stainless steel designs and incorporating lacquer, wood, and mother-of-pearl. Pergay is still a design force today with her collaboration of home furnishings for FENDI.

Charlotte Perriand

Born in France in 1903, a 27 year old Perriand designed the rooftop bar for the Salon d’Automne and caught the attention of Le Corbusier. In 1928,while at the Le Corbusier Studio, Perriand helped design the iconic LC4 Chaise Lounge. Perriand began designing under her own name in 1931, starting a firm with Jeanneret, Prouve and Blanchon to design prefabricated aluminum buildings. Later designs include the London office for Air France, the conference rooms for the UN in Geneva and the Meribel ski resort.

Gaetano Pesce

Born in La Spezia, Italy in 1939 and trained at the University of Venice Faculty of Architecture. Pesce has concieved public and private projects in the United States, Europe, Latin America and Asia. Known for his unrestrained use of color and tactile qualities, Gaetano Pesce was the recipient of the Chrysler Award for Innovation and Design in 1993.

Gio Ponti

Born in Italy in 1891, Ponti had a career that spanned over 60 years. He was the founder and longtime editor of Domus magazine. His 1953 Distex armchair and 1957 Superleggera chair became classics. He encouraged the overlap of architecture and art.

Jean Prouvé

Born in 1901 Paris, Prouvé was trained as a metal artist under Emile Robert, Enghien und Szabo in Paris. He opened his own workshop in 1924. Les Ateliers Jean Prouvé, started in 1931, produced numerous furniture designs. He left the company in 1953 and went on to run his own architectural design firm from 1968-84. In the 1980’s he went back to designing furniture. He united function and material in many of his designs. In 1971, Prouvé was the president of the Jury for the design of the Centre Pompidou in Paris.

Jens Risom

Born in Denmark in 1916, Jens was one of the first designers to introduce Scandinavian Design to the world. He began a collaboration with Knoll in 1941. The result was the Jens Risom collection and was featured in one one of the first Knoll catalogues. Even while he served in the Army Knoll still continued to market and sell his clean simple designs. When he returned home in 1946 he broke away from Knoll and started his own firm, which he was the head of for 25 years. His work reflects the Danish approach to Modernism with beauty and simplicity. His work is on display in MoMA, The Brooklyn Museum and RISD.

T.H. Robsjohns-Gibbings

London born(Gibby) to his friends rose to prominence in 1937 for his reconstructions of classical Greek furniture. He move to NYC 1936. He was not fond of the lifeless utilitarianism of modernism or the American passion for recreating Georgian furniture. His classical Greek furniture had a rather post-Deco glibness, it was unquestionably dapper and beautiful. He designed for Mrs. Otto Kahn, Elizabeth Arden and Doris Duke.

Gino Sarfatti

Born in Venice in 1912 and studied aeronaval engineering at the University of Genoa. From 1939 onwards he worked in the lighting sector and set up Arteluce which soon became a national and international reference point for the modern architecture movement in lighting. During his thirty years of activity, Gino Sarfatti designed and produced over 400 lights and carried out non-stop research into innovation as regards typology, materials, production technologies, light sources, technical lighting effects and design aspects. In the course of their work, Gino Sarfatti and Arteluce won numerous prizes and awards including the Compasso d’Oro in 1954 and 1955, and the Honorary Diploma of the Milan Triennale.


Born 1930, in Murano, Livio Seguso began his life-long affair with glass from a very early age, fascinated by the inexhaustible appeal of that wonderful medium. After having achieved an in-depth knowledge of the traditional glassmaking techniques, and stimulated by his strong artistic sensitivity, Seguso turned to plastic forms, and his research led him to explore with avid interest the world of the of the great masters of contemporary sculpture.

Eiji Shibata

Shibata is a Tokyo-based designer who specializes in chairs. He started his career as a corporate office worker, but eventually felt the call to become a designer. In 2007, he won a prize from the TOKYO DESIGN PREMIO association for his “Mangrove Chair”, which was made by the complex shaping of a single piece of steel. This is his first time designing a vehicle.

Ettore Sottsass

Born in Innsbruck 1917,Sottsass was one of the leading members of the Memphis Group founded in 1981 with a group of recently graduated designers and journalist Barbara Radice as public relations/art director. The group’s main aim was to revive Radical Design. The products created by the Memphis group included limited production creations of unusual objects and functional designs. Most products featured plastic laminate surfaces, bright colors and bold patterns.

Roger Tallon

Born in 1929, the French designer imposed in post-war France his innovative industrial creations. He anticipated the consumer society’s changes and expectations with simple and functional products that would change everyday life: from portable televisions to refrigerators and trains. Also an engineer, he developed a prolific collaboration with the SNCF, rethinking its identity and main projects such as the Eurostar or the automatic Parisian underground line, applying his principles about design that is ‘nor an art, nor a means of expression, but a methodical creative process that can be generalized to all conception problems.

Hervé Van der Straeten

Born in 1965 and is an independent artist-designer. Having first become known for his jewelry creations, Van der Straeten has since gained worldwide recognition for his collections of furniture and lighting, which have now become his main activity. Van der Straeten’s furniture and lighting are instantly recognizable from the way that contrasting materials, bold variations of form, defiant volumes are pure, elegant lines are combined with perfect proportions. The great precision and meticulous attention to detail with how the pieces are made, are also clearly tangible. As well as, having his own gallery in Paris, which displays a selection of both his unique and limited edition pieces, Van der Straeten designs and makes everything in his own dedicated bronze and cabinet making workshops. The artist-designer is also known for his projects with a number of French luxury houses, specialized in glass and porcelain, as well as, for his work with the cosmetics and fragrance industry. Van der Straeten has received numerous awards from the French Government during his career, including most recently the L’Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant and the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres.


The Venetian company Vistosi is one of the world leaders for glass making. Dating back to the 15th Century, Vistosi has been one of the premier Murano glass manufacturers. The present Vistosi company was founded in 1945. Born in Venice in 1931, Luciano Vistosi grew up on the island of Murano where his family owned glassworks that produced industrial products. When his father died in 1952 he stopped his studies and, together with his uncle Oreste and brother Gino, founded the new Vetreria Vistosi with the aim of creating products in particular lighting which reflected the new modernism. In the 1950`s Luciano Vistosi took the family business to unparrallelled heights. The company worked with many great designers such as Aulenti, Zanuso, Sottsass, Peduzzi Riva, Dal Lago, Meronen Beckmann, Michele De Lucchi, Vico Magistretti, Alega, Angelo Mangiarotti, Giogali & Alberto Mera

Marcel Wanders

Born in 1963, the exuberant Dutch designer once called “the Lady Gaga of the design world” sees minimalism as a plague. To him, design is about propagating wonder and passion: his objects, furniture and interior designs are therefore fuelled with fantasy. He privileges simple forms associated to lavish ornamentations that tend to highlight an assumed kitsch aesthetic. Marcel Wanders, who has chosen a picture of himself wearing a golden clown nose as his studio’s logo, truly treasures humour yet, he glorifies the seriousness of his work when dreaming of designing a mosque that would emphasize his love and respect of others.

Hans Wegner

Born in 1914 in Tønder, the son of a shoemaker. At the age of 17 he was apprenticed to a carpenter (H. F. Stahlberg) and it was at this time that he developed his first design. At the age of 20 he moved to Copenhagen to study at the institution now known as The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Design but which back then went under the more modest title of “The Artisan College.” A master carpenter first and a designer second: Perfectly finished joints and exquisite forms. A deep respect for the wood and its character and an everlasting curiosity about good materials. He gave minimalism an organic and natural softness. He is considered as “the master chair-maker” and designed more than 500 chairs during the course of his life.

Edward Wormley

Born in 1907 in Oswego, IL, a small community west of Chicago. He attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago from 1926 to 1928 and took his first job in the interior design studio at Marshall Field & Company department store. In 1931, he was recruited by DUNBAR and quickly became their Director of Design. Wormley’s tenure as Design Director spanned over thirty years and is considered one of the most historically meaningful between a designer and manufacturer. Wormley possessed a personal flair for embracing modern trends without a total departure from historical influences.

Marco Zanuso

Born in 1916, the Italian designer and architect studied at the Milan Polytechnic. Zanuso designed several pieces of furniture that were manufactured by Artflex including the “Lady” and “Antropus” armchairs and the “Trennale” sofa. Two of Zanuso’s most important architectural projects include the Olivetti factory buildings in Buenos Aires & Sao Paulo and the Necchi building in Pavia.