Enzo Mari is an artist, art theorist, and product and furniture designer. From 1952 until 1956 he studied literature and art at the Accademia di Brera in Milan. Very early on Enzo Mari was preoccupied the psychology of visual perception. In parallel, he freelanced as an industrial and graphic designer. In 1963 Enzo Mari belonged to the radical group "Nuove Tendenze".
From 1963 to 66 Enzo Mari taught at the Scuola Umanitaria in Milan and has contined to take on teaching assignments at universities and institutes in Milan, Rome, Parma, Florence, Berlin and Vienna.
As a design theorist, Enzo Mari has written on aesthetics and perception as well as the role of the designer and artist in modern society. In 1970 his book "Funzione della ricerca estetica" was published; from 2001 "Progetto e Passione" has been inprogress.
From 1976 to 1979 Enzo Mari was chairman of the Associazione per il Disegno Industriale (ADI). Enzo Mari requires every designer "to define his own model of an ideal world." Enzo Mari is not just concerned with designing products for mass production that are also aesthetically satisfying; each design must be utilitarian, functional, and do justice to the materials used.
Of the some 1600 objects designed by Enzo Mari, one of the best known must surely be the vase sculpture "Pago-Pago" (1969, Danese), which, turned upside-down, can again be used as a vase; "In Attesa" (1970, Danese), a wastepaper basket which leans toward the user "expectantly" as it were; and "Delfina" (1974, Driade), a chair with a zipped together sailcloth seat and back. For Danese Enzo also created "Formosa" (1970), a wall calendar; "Sumatra" (1976), a filing system; "Ameland" (1962), a letter opener; and "Giglio" (1985), this last a simple metal loop.
Enzo Mari has also worked for Olivetti, Adelphi, Le Creuset, Artemide, Gabbianelli, Interflex, Zanotta, Alessi, KPM, Ideal Standard, Rosenthal and many other firms.
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