Mario Bellini

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Mario Bellini
Mario Bellini photo
Mario Bellini
Born (1935-02-01) February 1, 1935 (age 86)
Milan, Italy
Alma materMilan Polytechnic - Faculty of Architecture
OccupationArchitect and designer
Notable work
  • Museum of Islamic Art at Louvre Museum, Paris
  • Deutsche Bank Headquarters refurbishment, Frankfurt
  • Milan Convention Center (MICO), Milan
  • 8 Compasso d’Oro
  • Medaglia d’Oro
Fuji DL 100 Mario Bellini Design
Olivetti Lettera 35i Mario Bellini
Olivetti Lettera Praxis DLX Mario Bellini Design
Olivetti Lettera 36c Mario Bellini Design
calculator Logos 58 for Olivetti, 1972
Ergonomic Dashboard for Lancia Trevi, 1980

Mario Bellini (born February 1, 1935) 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. He is the winner among others of 8 Compasso d’Oro and architecture awards including the Medaglia d’Oro conferred on him by the President of the Italian Republic.[1]

Like many other Italian architects, his activities range from architecture and urban planning to product and furniture design.


His career as a product and furniture designer began in 1963, and from 1963 to 1991 he was chief design consultant for Olivetti. For many years he designed furnishing products and systems for B&B Italia and Cassina, TV sets for Brionvega, and hi-fi systems, headphones and electric organs for Yamaha.

For five years he worked as an automobile design consultant with Renault.

In 1972 he was commissioned to design and build the prototype of the Kar-a-Sutra mobile environment for the exhibition “Italy: the New Domestic Landscape” at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.[2][3]

He has also designed for Fiat and Lancia (notably the interior of the 1980 Lancia Trevi), lamps for Artemide, Erco and Flos, and office furniture for Vitra.

Other firms for whom he has designed and/or continues to design products include (in Italy) Acerbis, Bras, Driade, Candy, Castilia, Flou, Kartell, Marcatrè, Meritalia, Natuzzi and Poltrona Frau; (in Belgium) Ideal Standard; (in Germany) Lamy and Rosenthal; (in Japan) Fuji and Zojirushi; and (in the USA) Heller.

His early international success grew rapidly during the first two decades, especially in the design sector, and reached its peak in 1987 with a personal retrospective exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art of New York. At the time the museum already included 25 of his works in its Permanent Collection, including a remarkable set of Olivetti machines as well as the furniture for B&B and Cassina - such as the famous "Cab" chair - and the innovative office chairs designed for Vitra.

MBA's headquarters of 1,500 square metres in Milan were designed by Mario Bellini himself in the early 1990s, and today an average of 30 to 35 architects.

In 1999, MBA obtained ISO 9001 quality certification.


Since the ‘80s, he has been increasingly successful in the field of architecture in Europe, Japan, the United States, Australia and the Arab Emirates.

Projects built

  • Milan Convention Centre (MICO), Europe’s largest convention centre, 2008-2012
  • Museum of Islamic Arts at Louvre Museum, Paris, 2005-2012
  • Museum of the City of Bologna, Italy, 2004-2012
  • Urban redevelopment “Verona Forum”, Verona, Italy, 2004–2011
  • Radical refurbishment of the Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt, Germany, 2007–2011
  • National Gallery of Victoria extension and redevelopment, Melbourne, Australia, 1996–2003
  • Essen International Fair Extension, Germany, 1998–2001
  • Natuzzi Americas Headquarters, High Point, North Carolina, USA, 1996–1998
  • Arsoa Co./Cosmetics- Headquarters, Yamanashi, Japan, 1996–1998
  • New fair district of the Milan Trade Fair, 1987–1997
  • Risonare Vivre Club Complex, Kobuchizawa, Japan, 1989–1992
  • Tokyo Design Center, Tokyo, Japan, 1988–1992
  • Yokohama Business Park, Yokohama, Japan, 1987–1991
  • Villa Erba Exhibition and Congress Centre, Cernobbio (Como), 1986–1990
  • Thermoelectric power plant of Cassano d’Adda-Office building, 1985–1990

Projects under construction

  • Architectural project of a large Scientific-Technological Park at Erzelli Hill, Genoa, Italy, 2005
  • Extension and redevelopment of the Pinacoteca di Brera Milan (one of the major Italian Art Gallery), 2009
  • New Cultural Centre of Turin, 2001 (to be started)

Among the best architectural creations

  • New Museum of the city of Berlin, Germany, 2008
  • Sheikh Zayed National Museum International Competition, Abu Dhabi, UAE, 2007
  • European Patent Office, L’Aja, Holland, 2004
  • Cittanova 2000, Modena, Italy, 2003
  • Redevelopment of the City Centre of Tian Jin, China, 2003
  • Banca CR Firenze-New H.Q., Italy, 2003
  • New International Trade Fair of Milan – Rho/Pero, Milan, 2002
  • Multifunctional Complex “MAB. Zeil Project”, Frankfurt, Germany, 2002
  • Stolitza Towers, Moscow, 1996
  • Dubai Creek Complex, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 1994
  • Goshikidai Marine Resort, Japan, 1993


Avid art lover and collector, he has been responsible for the exhibition design of many art exhibitions, among which:

  • "The Treasure of St. Marco in Venice", Grand Palais, Paris, and the major museums around the world, 1984–87
  • "Italian Art in the 20th Century", Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1989
  • "The Renaissance from Brunelleschi to Michelangelo. The Representation of Architecture", Palazzo Grassi, Venice, then in Paris and Berlin, 1994–95
  • "The Triumphs of Baroque. Architecture in Europe 1600-1750", Stupinigi Hunting Palace, Turin, 1999
  • "Christopher Dresser. A designer at the Court of Queen Victoria", Triennale, Milan, 2001
  • “Annisettanta. Il decennio lungo del secolo breve”, Triennale, 2007–2008
  • “Magnificenza e Progetto” Palazzo Reale, Milan, 2008–2009

Major personal exhibitions[edit]

  • In 1987, the Museum of Modern Art in New York organised the exhibition “Mario Bellini: designer”, the first great retrospective on a living artist
  • In 1996, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) held an exhibition of Bellini’s work as an architect
  • In 2000, the Municipal Gallery of Contemporary Art of Trento, Italy held a personal show “Mario Bellini: a path between architecture, furniture and cars”
  • In December 2003, the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne reopened with a major exhibition on his work.


  1. ^ Driven To Write, Dec 17, 2014
  2. ^ "Concept Car of the Week: The Kar-A-Sutra (1972) - Car Design News". Archived from the original on 2019-05-17. Retrieved 2019-05-17.
  3. ^ "mario bellini talks about his 1972 'kar-a-sutra' concept car". designboom | architecture & design magazine. 2017-01-20. Retrieved 2019-05-17.
  • Fiell, Charlotte & Peter (2001). Industrial Design A-Z. London: Taschen.

External links[edit]