Enzo Mari

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Enzo Mari
Enzo Mari 1974.jpg
Enzo Mari in his studio in Milan, 1974
Born(1932-04-27)27 April 1932
Died19 October 2020(2020-10-19) (aged 88)
(m. 1978)

Enzo Mari (27 April 1932[1][2] – 19 October 2020) was an Italian modernist artist and furniture designer who is known to have influenced many generations of industrial designers.[3][4]

Early life and education[edit]

Mari was born in Novara, Italy and he studied at the Brera Academy in Milan, Italy from 1952 to 1956.[5]


He drew inspiration from the idealism of the arts and crafts movement and his political views as a communist.[6]

From 1956 onward, he specialized in industrial design and created a portfolio of more than 2,000 works.[5] In the 1960s, he published a series of books, including "The Apple and the Butterfly," a book of illustrations depicting the story of a caterpillar and an apple, without any text.[7]

In the 1970s as a professor at The Humanitarian Society, he founded the Nuova Tendenza art movement in Milan.[8] Also in that decade, he designed the Sof Sof chair[9] and the "Box" chair.[10] In 1974, Enzo Mari created a book entitled, Autoprogettazione, which deals with the DIY construction of furniture.[11] In the 1980s, he designed the modernist Tonietta chair.[12]

Mari taught at University of Parma, the Accademia Carrara, and the Milan Polytechnic.[8]

Multiple works by Mari have been on display at the Museum of Modern Art.[13] He had retrospective shows in Turin,[14] and an important presentation of his work in the "Adhocracy" show, during the first Istanbul Design Biennial. In addition, the Triennale, Milan is exhibiting a tribute to Mari, curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist with Francesca Giacomelli.[15]

He donated the archive of his designs to the city of Milan on the condition that it may not be displayed for 40 years.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Mari married art critic, theoretician and performance artist Lea Vergine,[16] in 1978. They had known each other since the 1960s.[17] He died on 19 October 2020, at the age of 88, due to COVID-19, during the COVID-19 pandemic in Italy.[18] His wife died a day later, also from COVID-19.[19]

Awards and recognition[edit]

Selected quotes[edit]

-"Form is everything."[6]

-"Design is dead."[6]

-"I want to create models for a different society."[23]


  1. ^ Moliterno, Gino (11 September 2002). Encyclopedia of Contemporary Italian Culture. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-134-75877-7.
  2. ^ "ENZO MARI". Avantgarde Museum.
  3. ^ Green, Penelope, Enzo Mari, Industrial Designer Who Kept Things Simple, Dies at 88, The New York Times, October 30, 2020
  4. ^ Basciano, Oliver, Enzo Mari Obituary, The Guardian, November 1, 2020
  5. ^ a b c "enzo mari has died aged 88". Design Boom. Retrieved 22 October 2020.
  6. ^ a b c Rawsthorn, Alice (2 October 2008). "Enzo Mari: A rebel with an obsession for form". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 June 2012.
  7. ^ "The Apple and the Butterfly". Present & Correct. Archived from the original on 29 March 2009.
  8. ^ a b "Enzo Mari". Centre for Art and Media Karlsruhe. Retrieved 22 October 2020.
  9. ^ "Sof Sof Chair". MoMA Catalog. Retrieved 27 June 2012.
  10. ^ ""Che fare" by Enzo Mari and Gabriele Pezzini". Design Addcit. Archived from the original on 4 July 2017. Retrieved 27 June 2012.
  11. ^ "Enzo Mari's Autoprogettazione". Archived from the original on 4 February 2013. Retrieved 5 December 2012.
  12. ^ "MoMA: Tonietta Chair". MoMA Catalog. MoMA. Retrieved 27 June 2012.
  13. ^ "Works on Display: Enzo Mari". NYMOMA Catalog. NYMOMA. Retrieved 27 June 2012.
  14. ^ "Enzo Mari: A view on the immensity". Ego Design. Archived from the original on 18 May 2012. Retrieved 27 June 2012.
  15. ^ "Enzo Mari curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist with Francesca Giacomelli | Triennale Milano". www.triennale.org (in Italian). Retrieved 22 October 2020.
  16. ^ Green, Penelope (3 November 2020). "Enzo Mari, Industrial Designer Who Kept Things Simple, Dies at 88". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  17. ^ Hilburg, Jonathan (20 October 2020). "Italian design legend Enzo Mari dies, a day before his wife, Lea Vergine". The Architect’s Newspaper. Retrieved 22 October 2020.
  18. ^ Morto Enzo Mari, icona del design italiano e mondiale (in Italian)
  19. ^ Morta Lea Vergine, la critica d'arte scompare il giorno dopo suo marito Enzo Mari: era ricoverata con lui in ospedale (in Italian)
  20. ^ a b c d "Enzo Mari e il compasso d'oro". Floor Nature (in Italian). 21 June 2011. Retrieved 22 October 2020.
  21. ^ "Current Honorary Royal Designers". May 2008. Archived from the original on 20 November 2008. Retrieved 22 October 2020.
  22. ^ "Addio a Enzo Mari, maestro del design". Adnkronos (in Italian). Retrieved 22 October 2020.
  23. ^ "ENZO MARI Edition | CUCULA".