Italian Influence on Modern Furniture design

Posted on 9th March 2011 in Furniture Designers, Italian Designers

Franco Albini

Modern design and furniture has evolved over the last several hundred years as major influences from Europe changed the dynamics of contemporary furniture. While German, Japanese and Swedish furniture designers had strong influence on the shift from only wooden and carved furniture designs, usually with ornate marquetry or parquetry to create designs in the wood, modern Italian furniture and its designers wielded some of the great influence. And still today, Italian furniture designers are some of the leading creators of modern furniture.

With the advent of the Industrial revolution, furniture creators were able to begin experimenting with different types of materials other than wood to create lightweight, unique furniture. It was in the late 19th century that contemporary furniture designers really sparked ingenuity in materials. One of the greats born during this time were Franco Albini, who has been described as a furniture design purist who excelled in what was called rational architecture. At the turn of the century, the desire to create a rational work environment led engineers, architects and designers on a different design movement as the industrial revolution created efficiency in design and machines that transformed the way humans performed work.

Albini was one of these designers who used the machinery to create modern Italian furniture. Born in Robbiate, close to Italy’s famous city, Milan. Albini was a student and graduate of Milan Polytechnic University before working with another contemporary furniture designer Gio Ponti. He was well known for stacking and folding chairs, but really became well known in the modern furniture design world for his Margherita chair, Gala chair, Fiorenza chair, Luisa chair and the Rocking Chaise. He later focused more on architecture, but is only one of the many great designers of the time.

Gio Ponti, who Albini worked with, is one of the most famous Italian furniture designers of the modern world. While he was primarily an architect, Ponti brought great influence to modern furniture designers. Ponti was best known for his chairs, in particular the Distex armchair, his “Due Foglie” sofa, glass bottles and unique lamps as well as ceramic accessories and a line of home furniture. His Superleggera (SuperLight) chair was also another well-known design created by this furniture designer.

Ponti, however, is only one of many Italian furniture designers that have influenced modern furniture designers. A strong focus on detail, quality and design bring strength to Italian furniture. Italian furniture, with its Baroque accents, is still popular with Classic, Tuscan, Renaissance and modern contemporary furniture designers today.

Modern furniture design still brings a strong influence from designers such as Ponti and Albini who helped transition the industry to a different type of design. Following the rational trend was Piero Bottoni, a Milanese architect who also graduation from Milan Polytechnic. He had his hand in multiple Italian furniture design projects in addition to building projects. He participated in many events across Italy as the new generation really began changing furniture design. He focused heavily on creating new designs for what he termed a “rational home.” Bottoni regularly sought to create new pieces of modern furniture in designs that were quckly becoming more and more functional in design yet the form was still remaining a piece of art.

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Top international furniture designers

When exploring the world of furniture designers, it is obvious that there are some really famous furniture designers.

One of the top furniture designers is Marco Zanuso who is well known for his work in designing the “Lady” chair. This modern chair was popular in the fifties and Zanuso was one of the Italian furniture designers behind this latex foam product.  Another well known modern furniture designer was Carlo Mollino, a top Italian furniture designer who was known for his fast lifestyle but exquisite architectural renderings and furniture designs.

Mollino created unique pieces, usually as a one-time project, but his elongated shapes and play with form have impacted design worldwide. Mollino did not mass-produce his designs, which have created a sensation of being one of the top furniture designers in the world, with price tags in the several millions on his furniture designs at famous auction houses like Christie’s.

Around the world, while Zanuso and Mollino were becoming famous furniture designers, other furniture designers were being equally as creative and working to transform the world of modern furniture designs from big, bulky and heavy to light, airy with movement and form.

Isamu Noguchi is one of the top Japanese furniture designers that had an impact worldwide. His infamous Noguchi coffee table is still produced today and the table’s elegant form, function and durability is what keeps Noguchi as one of the world’s most famous furniture designers today.

These furniture designers have impacted modern and contemporary furniture designers. What makes a modern and contemporary design?

Like Mollino, Zanuso and Noguchi, creating modern furniture pieces relies on using new available materials and manufacturing techniques to create affordable modern furniture designs. Today’s contemporary designers are still using these famous furniture designers creations as a basis for some of their own furniture designs.

Top furniture designers today look to the best Italian furniture designers and Japanese furniture designers for inspiration. Japanese design influences fill homes with their Zen like furniture design that focuses on space and form. By looking at these furniture designers, we see a rich history of creativity that still flourishes in modern furniture designers today.

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Furniture Stores Los Angeles

European influence on Modern Furniture Design

Posted on 11th February 2011 in French Designers, Furniture Designers, Italian Designers

Modern furniture is definitely in the eye of the beholder. Over the years, furniture trends have changed with the times, culture and even location. Home owners looking for contemporary furniture had to look no further than the Italian, German, Japanese and French furniture designers that were taking the industry by a storm, heavily influencing American furniture design.

Over the years, as the interior design industry evolved from stone and woodwork only, and from satisfying a basic need such as a dining table, a large chest or chair, to being designed as a work of art, modern contemporary furniture design has grown into a multi-billion dollar industry with American centers of art and design centered in major cities such as Miami, New York and Los Angeles. Continue reading “European influence on Modern Furniture Design” »

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Top design influences for Italian Furniture Designers

Posted on 28th January 2011 in Italian Designers

Modani Chair

Q: What have been some of the influences on top Italian furniture designers in the world?

Going back to the late 15th century, the Renaissance period brought major influences from around the world, including Japanese furniture designers. Ancient Roman and Greek art designs began to show up in furniture designers’ work. Yet, the Renaissance soon made way for more contemporary furniture designs influenced by local culture.

Shortly after the Renaissance, the Catholic Church’s influence grew so much that furniture designers brought a new look to modern furniture design revolved around the influence of the Church. The Catholic Church led a revitalization and redesign of Rome that spread a Baroque influence throughout Italy followed by Europe in the 17th century.

As new forms of woodworking flourished in Rome, cabinets, bookshelves and other modern furniture designs were embellished with Baroque accents. Famous Italian furniture designers created gilded frames, Italian chests, Florentine consoles and cabinets as well as lion commodes all with creative and extensive carvings to create a majestic and royal design.

While these were large, dominating pieces, the Baroque period turned to what is known as the Empire and Neo classicism style where shapes and forms began to dominate the work of famous furniture designers.

Contemporary furniture designers were skilled in their design technique that had been passed down. In the 19th Century, Italian furniture designers returned to their Renaissance roots with Gothic influences. Oriental, in particular, Japanese furniture designers began to influence Italian design.

Italy is known worldwide as a premier hub for fashion, design and creativity.

Gio Ponti is one of the most famous Italian furniture designers of the modern world. While he was primarily an architect, Ponti brought great influence to modern furniture designers. Ponti was best known for his chairs, in particular the Distex armchair, his “Due Foglie” sofa, glass bottles and unique lamps as well as ceramic accessories and a line of home furniture. His Superleggera (SuperLight) chair was also another well-known design created by this furniture designer.

Modani Medusa Chandelier

Ponti, however, is only one of many Italian furniture designers that have influenced modern furniture designers. A strong focus on detail, quality and design bring strength to Italian furniture. Italian furniture, with its Baroque accents, is still popular with Classic, Tuscan, Renaissance and modern contemporary furniture designers the most popular today.

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Italian Furniture Designer Mario Bellini

Posted on 27th January 2011 in Furniture Designers, Italian Designers

Itilian Furniture Designer Mario Bellini

Italy has long been known as a staple in the world of modern design, including furniture design. So it is with no surprise that one of the world’s greatest modern art designers and creators came from Italy.

Mario Bellini, one of the great Italian furniture designers created his first design around the age of 9 when he built a small habitable house.

Mario Bellini, born 1935, went to the Politecnico de Milano and graduated in 1959, and began creating his own original architectural designs in the 1960s. Bellini’s diversity led him around the world creating different office furniture, lamps, chairs and more.

One of Bellini’s simpler innovation that has withstood the test of time is the Bellini chair, or Cab chair. Lightweight, simple, elegant, this chair stacked atop another and was made of leather. His chairs were known for having one piece of leather skin stretched over the entire casing of the chair, covering the metal underneath.

Bellini first really began furniture design when he started as the design director for La Rinascente, a department store in Milan that has heavily influenced Italian design. Eventually he worked for other well-known design companies in Italy such as Olivetti, (at Olivetti is where the Bellini chair was created), Cassina, B&B Italia and Vitra as well as creating the next generation of electronic. It was during this time that electronics were really coming into play in Italy and in America and Bellini’s modern design influence was felt here when he designed for Brionvega and music giant Yamaha as well as Renault Italy. Continue reading “Italian Furniture Designer Mario Bellini” »

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