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.
Bellini was known for his foresight and ability to design modern furniture that was used well into the future. The swivel office chairs used in modern offices today can find their roots in designs created by Mario Bellini.
In 1973, Mario Bellini opened his own design firm to further expand his architectural and furniture creations. Studio Bellini led to a consultation project at the Renault. Soon after the well-known Museum of Modern Art in New York, known for its tremendous art and modern furniture collection offered Mario Bellini an exhibition, and still honors him with a presence in the museum today. Bellini was one of the first furniture designers in one-man show at the Museum of Modern Art.
Key projects designed by Mario Bellini include: two trade fairs—one in Essen Germany and the other in Milan, in Japan the Tokyo Design Center as well as hundreds of other locations worldwide. Mario Bellini might be an Italian furniture designer and archietect, but his technique and design skills have truly been appreciated worldwide. Further examples of his work include the Museum of Islamic Arts at Louvre Museum, Paris, the National Gallery of Victoria, the office buildings at the thermoelectric power plant in Cassano d’Adda and even places in the United States such as the Natuzzi Americas Headquarters located in North Carolina and multiple projects in Australia and even for the United Arab Emirates.
During his time, Bellini also oversaw the creation of Domus Magazine, an influential furniture and architectural design publication in Milan created by Gio Ponti, another well-known architect and creative designer in Italy.
Few designers have neither the breadth of experience nor the wealth of worldwide display as Bellini who is still designing today. He is currently working on a large number of reconstruction design projects around the world.