Italy, 1935 –
Architect and designer
Mario Bellini, born 1935, Milano Italy is an Italian architect and designer. He graduated from the Milan Polytechnic – Faculty of Architecture in 1959 and began working as an architect himself in the early 1960s. Like many other Italian architects, his activities range from architecture and urban planning to product and furniture design.
He soon branched out beyond architecture, from electronics to furniture to architecture to cars, comprising iconic designs in each. He has been the recipient of 8 prestigious Compasso d’Oro design awards and prestigious architecture awards including the Medaglia d’Oro conferred on him by the President of the Italian Republic. Then served as design consultant for Renault and devised the interior of the 1980 Lancia Trevi for Fiat. Meanwhile, his architecture work spans continents, including such modern gems as the Museum of Islamic Arts at the Louvre, the National Gallery of Victoria extension in Melbourne, the Dubai Creek Complex and the Milan Convention Centre in his hometown.
And then there’s the furniture: Over the last 70 years, Bellini has designed office furniture for Vitra; lamps for Artemide, Erco and Flos; porcelain for Rosenthal and long-beloved seating for Kartell, Natuzzi B&B Italia, Cassina and more. His oft-imitated 1977 Cab chair for Cassina, comprising 16 individual pieces of saddle leather that create a “skin” over a minimal metal frame, remains one of the manufacturer’s best sellers today. His pudgy-legged, round tables for Cassina foreshadow Faye Togood’s beloved Roly Poly line. His postmodern Summa armchairs for Kartell, as well as his elegant Chiara floor lamp, are highly collecatble furniture pieces.
More than 20 of his works are in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, which dedicated to him a personal retrospective in 1987. He was editor of Domus magazine (1985-1991). He has designed countless art, design and architecture exhibitions over the years, both in Italy and abroad.
Mario Bellini Furniture, Machines & Objects, Enrico Morteo Phaidon New York 2015