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Italian Design, Zanuso-Chair, Vivendo

Italian Design History

The roots of Italian Design

Today, Italy enjoys the status of global pacesetter in the arenas of style, design and fashion. However, it hasn’t always been an easy ride, and drawing a link between the modern Italian design we adore today with the rich cultural heritage of Italy’s past requires us to understand that even the greatest cultures experience their ups and downs.


Pirellone, Milano, Italian Design history, Vivendo


In the aftermath of the Second World War, a huge segment of Italy’s construction legacy had been destroyed. The impetus was on the nation, still reeling from reparation costs, debt and drain on national resources, to invent a new future for itself. The architects and designers of the time took it upon themselves to renew buildings, public spaces and homes in a technical and functional manner; the surge in innovation spread to other areas, and the 50’s saw developments in industrial objects, including kitchens and home appliances, as well as the discovery of a new way of transport: the Fiat 500 was the affordable car for the family which literally ‘motorised an entire nation’.


Fiat 500, Italian Design history, Vivendo


Newly ‘hedonistic’ Italy realised that modernity also meant comfort, quality and a better standard of living. Advancements in design extended further into the domestic domain to include furniture, lighting and a range of leisure objects. The 60’s signified a peak in the fervour surrounding the new art form, and the international market became a significant segment of the demand that often outstripped production.


Arco by Castiglioni, Italian design history, Vivendo

Arco (1962) – Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni


Cubo Brionvega, Italian design history, Vivendo

“Cubo” Brionvega TS522 (2004), Richard Sapper


Today, Italy is known for its dominance and excellence in multiple design disciplines, including lighting, architecture, graphics and fashion. With its advanced technical institutions and universities, a new crop of ambitious and wonderfully creative talent enters the workforce each year, ensuring that the nation’s aesthetic tradition continues to flourish well into the future.

Get inspired by Vivendo’s timeless pieces designed by one of the master of Italian design, Gio Ponti.



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