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Mario Bellini

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Mario Bellini
Mario Bellini photo
Mario Bellini
Born (1935-02-01) 1 February 1935 (age 89)
Milan, Italy
Alma materMilan Polytechnic - Faculty of Architecture
Occupation(s)Architect 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

Mario Bellini (born 1 February 1935) is an Italian architect and designer.[1] After graduating from the Polytechnic University of Milan in 1959, Bellini pursued a career as an architect, exhibition designer, product designer, and furniture designer during the Italian economic boom of the late 20th century.[2] Bellini has received several accolades in a variety of design fields, including eight Compasso d'Oro awards and the Gold Medal for Lifetime Achievement by the Triennale di Milano.[3] In 2019, the Italian President of the Chamber of Deputies, Roberto Fico, awarded Bellini a career medal in recognition of his contributions to Italian architecture and design.[4]


Olivetti Divisumma 28 (1972)
Olivetti TCV 250 Video Terminal (1966)[5]

In 1963, Bellini became a consultant for Olivetti, where he worked on the design of the Programma 101, a precursor to the desktop computer.[6][7] He continued to collaborate with Olivetti throughout the 1970s and 1980s. During this time, he was involved in the design of many of the company's iconic products, such as the Lexicon 82 Electric Typewriter[8] and the Divisumma 28 Electronic Printing Calculator.[9]

Bellini has also worked with several other companies, including B&B Italia, Brionvega, Cassina, Heller Furniture, Flou, Yamaha, Renault, Rosenthal, Tecno, Riva 1920, Vitra, and Kartell.

For many years he designed furnishing products and systems for B&B Italia and Cassina. He designed TV sets, hi-fi systems, headphones, and electric organs for Yamaha. For five years, he worked as an automobile design consultant with Renault. 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 products 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 Furniture.

In 1972, Bellini 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.[10][11] His Camaleonda modular sofa system, produced until 1979 by B&B Italia, was also shown in this exhibition.[12]

In 1987, the Museum of Modern Art of New York devoted a personal retrospective exhibition to Bellini's career.[13] At the time, the museum already included 25 of his works in its permanent collection, including a set of Olivetti machines, furniture designed in collaboration with B&B and Cassina, and the office chairs he designed for Vitra.

Mario Bellini Architects (MBA) is headquartered in Milan. The 1,500 square meter building was designed by Mario Bellini himself in the early 1990s. In 1999, MBA obtained ISO 9001 quality certification. Today, the firm employs an average of 30 to 35 architects.[14]

Gallery of design works[edit]


Since the 1980s, Bellini has designed buildings in Europe, Japan, the United States, Australia, and the United Arab Emirates.

Projects built

  • Milan Convention Centre (MICO), one of Europe's largest convention centres, 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 galleries), 2009
  • New Cultural Centre of Turin, 2001

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


Bellini has been responsible for the exhibition design of many art exhibitions, including the following:

  • "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 solo exhibitions[edit]

  • In 1987, the Museum of Modern Art in New York organized an exhibition entitled “Mario Bellini: designer”
  • 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 entitled “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. ^ "Mario Bellini biografia". www.archimagazine.com. Retrieved 2022-09-02.
  2. ^ updated, Jonathan Bell last (2017-01-13). "Italian beauty: a new show celebrates the career of Mario Bellini". wallpaper.com. Retrieved 2023-01-13.
  3. ^ "Medaglia d'Oro all'Architettura Italiana 2015 - Living Corriere". Living (in Italian). 2015-12-16. Retrieved 2023-01-13.
  4. ^ "Inaugurazione della mostra "Mario Bellini. Italian Beauty. Architettura, design e altro" (Mosca, 4 marzo)". ambmosca.esteri.it (in Italian). Retrieved 2023-01-13.
  5. ^ "Mario Bellini. TCV 250 Video Display Terminal. 1966 | MoMA". The Museum of Modern Art. Retrieved 2023-02-08.
  6. ^ "Mario Bellini. Programma 101 Electronic Desktop Computer. 1965 | MoMA". The Museum of Modern Art. Retrieved 2022-09-02.
  7. ^ "OLIVETTI PROGRAMMA 101 – POLIMUSEO". Retrieved 2022-09-02.
  8. ^ "Mario Bellini, Antonio Macchi Cassia, Gianni Passini. Lexicon 82 Electric Typewriter. 1972-73 | MoMA". The Museum of Modern Art. Retrieved 2022-09-02.
  9. ^ "Mario Bellini. Divisumma 28 Electronic Printing Calculator. 1972 | MoMA". The Museum of Modern Art. Retrieved 2022-09-02.
  10. ^ "Concept Car of the Week: The Kar-A-Sutra (1972) - Car Design News". cardesignnews.com. Archived from the original on 2019-05-17. Retrieved 2019-05-17.
  11. ^ "mario bellini talks about his 1972 'kar-a-sutra' concept car". designboom | architecture & design magazine. 2017-01-20. Retrieved 2019-05-17.
  12. ^ "Camaleonda Sofa by Mario Bellini". Italian Design Club. 2020-03-23. Retrieved 2021-12-12.
  13. ^ "Mario Bellini: Designer". MoMA (44): 2–3. 1987. ISSN 0893-0279. JSTOR 4381021.
  14. ^ "Headquarters of Mario Bellini Architects Srl – Mario Bellini Architects" (in Italian). Retrieved 2022-12-28.
  • Fiell, Charlotte & Peter (2001). Industrial Design A-Z. London: Taschen.

External links[edit]