Superstudio was an architectural firm, founded in 1966 in Florence, Italy by Adolfo Natalini and Cristiano Toraldo di Francia, later joined by Gian Piero Frassinelli, Alessandro and Roberto Magris, Alessandro Poli.
Superstudio was a major part of the Radical architecture and design movement of the late 1960s. The founders had gone to school at the University of Florence with Archizoom Associati founder Andrea Branzi and first showed their work in the Superarchitettura show in 1966. This exhibition became the manifesto of the Radical Design movement.
In 1967, Natalini established three categories of future research: “architecture of the monument”, “architecture of the image”, and “technomorphic architecture”.
In 1969, Superstudio presented one of their most famous conceptual architecture works – Continuous Monument: An Architectural Model for Total Urbanization. Their anti-architectural proposals used grid systems as a way to mediate space. Continuous Monument represented a critique of the urban planning at that time.
Superstudio aimed for social change through architecture. In the early 1970s, they created a series of films in order to raise awareness of the harmful impact of construction on natural environment.
Adolfo Natalini wrote in 1971 “...if design is merely an inducement to consume, then we must reject design; if architecture is merely the codifying of bourgeois model of ownership and society, then we must reject architecture; if architecture and town planning is merely the formalization of present unjust social divisions, then we must reject town planning and its cities...until all design activities are aimed towards meeting primary needs. Until then, design must disappear. We can live without architecture..." Through their models, Superstudio proposed an alternative strategy of life without objects, a view of architectural practice as essentially theoretical, with a primary focus on cultural criticism.
In 1970, they created their iconic minimalist furniture collection – Quaderna, which is still in production by Zanotta. Their other famous projects include: "Sofo Sofa" (1968) (still in production), "Sofa Bazaar" (1968), Passiflora Table Lamp (1966), Polaris Excelsior table lamp (1968).
Critics agree that the work of Superstudio was influential, or even entirely inspirational to, among others, architects like Zaha Hadid, Rem Koolhaas and Bernard Tschumi. Evidence of this is notable when one considers that the use of strong symmetrical line-work and geometric form; mediums heavily utilized by all of these architects, were staples of Superstudio's work throughout most of its life. Furthermore, Superstudio's penchant for envisioning immense, entirely aspirational mega-structures is a trait visible in much of the early work of architects such as Hadid and Koolhaas.
Superstudio abandoned working as a collective in 1978, but its members continued to develop their ideas independently through their writings, via education, architectural practice and other design projects.
- Didero, Maria Cristina (2017). SuperDesign: Italian Radical Design 1965-75. New York: Monacelli Press. p. 210. ISBN 978-1580934954.
- Quesada, Fernando (Spring 2011). "Superstudio 1966-1973: From the World Without Objects to the Universal Grid". Footprint. 8. doi:10.7480/FOOTPRINT.5.1.730.
- "Superstudio Design Museum Touring Exhibition".
- Hinant, Cindy (2012). "Grids Next Door". Gnome. 1 Winter (1): 48.
Superstudio uses the grid to mediate and give equality to space. The Fundamental Acts is an anti-architectural pro posal. There are no identifying structures other than natural landmarks. It is a space for free movement, free love and free education. It is an “environment for love at first site,” where two people can be deeply in love for variable lengths of time. The grid is designed to meet all the needs of its inhabitants and create a social structure of complete freedom and equality.
- Didero, Maria Cristina (2017). SuperDesign: Italian Radical Design 1965-75. New York: Monacelli Press. pp. 216–18. ISBN 978-1580934954.
- "MoMA. Italy: The New Domestic Landscape". Retrieved 10 March 2019.
- Ringen, Jonathan. "Superstudio Pioneers of Conceptual Architecture". Archived from the original on 2009-06-05.