21/10/2020 DESIGNER, PEOPLE, ARCHITECHT, DESIGN - Author: UNIQ-Ǝ!

Enzo Mari, the conscience of designers


The world of design has lost one of its stars a few days ago: at the age of 88, Enzo Mari, an Italian designer, philosopher and academic, passed away. Born in the small town of Cerano, Novara province, in 1932, Mari had attended the Brera Academy and then devoted him life to teaching and to industrial design, thus having the opportunity to master both the theoretical and practical aspects of design.

In three years

Among the initiatives to celebrate one of the masters and theorists of design, from October 17, 2020 – April 18 2021,  the Triennale Milano exhibits “Enzo Mari curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist with Francesca Giacomelli”  which documents more than 60 years of the artist’s activity. On display, next to the historical section dedicated to Mari's path and philosophy, a series of contributions and projects by international artists that pay homage to the designer with installations and works dedicated to and inspired by his vision and practice. In addition to the exhibition, 19 research platforms have been activated on just as many projects that enhance the poetics of the Novara designer, video interviews and podcasts that testify to his constant ethical tension and his ability to give shape to the essential.

His life

Since the 1950s Mari also carried out an intense artistic activity, with solo and group exhibitions in galleries and museums of contemporary art, while at the same time being interested in various aspects of design, including the psychology of vision, and in programming in the field of aesthetic research.
The value of his ideas was soon received and appreciated: he won the Compasso d'Oro five times, the oldest and most important international industrial design award. The last time was in 2011; a lifetime achievement award to seal Mari's extraordinary parable.
Several contemporary art museums host his works and objects: from the National Gallery of Modern Art in Rome to the Moderna Museet in Stockholm; from the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam to the Musèe des Arts Décoratifs; from the Kunstmuseum Düsseldorf to the Kaiser Wilhelm Museum Krefeld up to the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Over the years, various exhibitions have been dedicated to him: the most recent at the Triennale Milano which opened two days before he passed away.

Mari is the "Father" of over 1,500 objects, some of which have entered the history of design by right: compliments to the Danese Milano company, but also to the children’s toys and iconic 16 animal wooden puzzle; the “Tonietta” chairs for Zanotta, “Delfina” for Robots, “Mariolina” for Magis, “Box” for Castelli; the “Frate” table for Driade; again, numerous researches on tableware for Alessi or Zani & Zani. They are objects that have become part of our daily life.

HIS work

Enzo Mari's work is focused on the psychology of visual perception and is characterized by continuous research and experimentation with new forms and meanings of the product, also in contrast to the traditional schemes of industrial design, as well as by a coherent use of materials.
His contribution is considered fundamental for the history and development of Italian design throughout the world.
According to Mari, the designer's task is not only the creation of beautiful objects and pleasant shapes: the functional aspect is essential, as well as the design choices that entail efficiency in the field of materials and processes.

There cannot be poetry without method

Mari's role in the evolution of Italian and international design is such that another great master of design, Alessandro Mendini, said: «Mari is not a designer, if his objects weren't there, I wouldn't care much. Mari instead is the conscience of all of us, it is the conscience of the designers, this matters».

Photo Ramak Fazel
















  

MAG ARCHIVE


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