Angelo Mangiarotti

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Angelo Mangiarotti, a distinctive name in design and architecture, is renowned for his innovative yet functional approach to structure and form. Born and educated in Italy, Mangiarotti’s work harmoniously blended modernist principles and industrial aesthetics. This article delves into the life and work of this extraordinary designer, exploring his unique perspective on architecture, his contributions to design theory, and his lasting influence on the field.

A Glimpse into the Life of Angelo Mangiarotti

Born in 1921 in Milan, Angelo Mangiarotti embarked on his journey into the world of architecture by earning his degree from Politecnico di Milano in 1948. This marked the beginning of a career that would span decades and leave an indelible mark on the design world.

In the early years of his career, from 1953 to 1954, he served as a visiting professor at the Institute of Technology in Chicago. During this time, he had the opportunity to participate in the city loop competition and rub shoulders with notable figures like Frank Lloyd Wright, Walter Gropius, Mies van der Rohe, and Konrad Wachsmann.

Upon returning to Italy, he opened a studio in Milan in 1955 with Bruno Morassutti, a partnership that lasted till 1960. His designs, such as the portable sewing machine Salmoiraghi: model 44 in 1958, showcased his inventive prowess.

Exploring the Architectural Works of Angelo Mangiarotti

Angelo Mangiarotti’s architectural portfolio is expansive and diverse, encompassing a range of projects from industrial buildings to railway stations. Early in his career, he designed several industrial buildings, with notable projects in Padova (1958), Marcianise and Mestre (1962), and Monza (1964).

His expertise also extended to the design of railway stations. Between 1982 and 1988, he designed the Milano Certosa and Milano Rogoredo for the Ferrovie dello Stato. Continuing this trend, he designed the Porta Venezia and Repubblica stations on the Milan railway from 1983 to 1996, further stamping his mark on Italian infrastructure.

Mangiarotti’s architectural genius was not limited to industrial and public transport spaces. He was also commissioned to design the offices and exhibition space for Snaidero in Majano, Friuli Venezia Giulia 1978. Moreover, in 1992 and 1993, he was involved in designing the exhibition center for the Internazionale Marmi e Macchine, the organization responsible for the Internazionale Marmi e Macchine di Carrara trade fair. These projects demonstrate Mangiarotti’s versatility and adaptability in the field of architecture, regardless of the project’s nature or scale.

The Evolution of Angelo Mangiarotti’s Design

Mangiarotti’s design journey leaped in 1967 when he designed the Cub 8 for Poltronova. He later collaborated with renowned brands such as Cassina, Knoll, Artemide, and Colle. Notably, his modular kitchen system, Cruscotto, designed in 1974 for Snaidero, was included in the design collection at MOMA in New York.

In 1989, he established Mangiarotti & Associati with a base in Tokyo, expanding his influence into the global design sphere. Always active in urban planning and architecture, he experimented with prefabrication techniques and industrial production methods.

Cruscotto Modular Kitchen System by Mnagiarotti for Snaisero, 1974

The Philosophy of Angelo Mangiarotti’s Design

Angelo Mangiarotti’s work epitomized the principles of Objective and Rationalist Architecture. His relentless pursuit of philosophical and aesthetic innovation and a deep understanding of the critical relationship between humans and their environment shaped his design philosophy. As a global citizen from Milan, Mangiarotti dedicated himself to artistic endeavors and actively engaged in education and academic commitments. He imparted his knowledge and expertise to students at prestigious institutions, such as the Polytechnic and universities in Australia and Hawaii, leaving a lasting impact.

Mangiarotti’s work “In the Name of Architecture” emphasizes the connection between architecture and human beings in a functional living context. His artistic narrative explores matters related to the end goal and as an independent entity. Mangiarotti firmly believed that the exploration of form and volume could influence the surrounding reality, a concept he shared with architectural legends such as Gropius, Mies Van der Rohe, and the entire Modernist and Rationalist movement.

Stylistically, Mangiarotti’s constant exploration of form and sculptural investigation led him to experiment extensively with the possibilities of lines. While his style was not purely orthogonal, he drew inspiration from influential architects such as Alvar Aalto, Le Corbusier, and Gaudí, merging geometric structures with curvy and wavy lines, creating a fusion of art and functionality. A prime example of his avant-garde approach can be seen in his design research on coffee tables, where concave and convex lines harmoniously converge. The marble coffee tables from the Eros series, designed for Skipper in 1971, vividly exemplify Mangiarotti’s vision of form and sculptural exploration.

Angelo Mangiarotti’s guiding principle was the shared purpose between architecture and lifestyle, a concept imparted by influential figures in the architectural world. His style, characterized by informative and historical elements, chronologically presents this visionary architect’s life, style, and creations.

Notable Architectural Projects by Angelo Mangiarotti

Angelo Mangiarotti was involved in a wide range of architectural projects throughout his career, from commercial buildings to public utilities. Here are some of his most notable works:

  • Pozzoli-Romanelli Tomb, Belluno, Italy, 1953
  • Skyscraper (with B. Morassutti). Via Cantore, Genoa, Italy, 1955
  • Interiors of Club 44 (with B. Morassutti), La Chaux de Fonds, Switzerland, 1957
  • Paired houses (with B. Morassutti), San Martino di Castrozza, Trento, Italy, 1957
  • Deposit for ferrous materials (with B. Morassutti and A. Favini), Padua, Italy, 1958

Pozzoli-Romanelli Tomb, Belluno, Italy, 1953

Interiors of Club 44, La Chaux de Fonds, Switzerland, 1957

Deposit for ferrous materials, Padua, Italy, 1958

  • Water tank in the Roman countryside (with A. Favini), 1961
  • Splugen Brau warehouse and office building, Mestre, Venice, Italy, 1962
  • Siag Plant with housing and social services, Marcianise, Caserta, Italy, 1962
  • Pavilion for exhibitions at the Fiera del Mare, Genoa, Italy, 1963
  • FM construction system. Elmag Plant, Lissone, Monza, Italy, 1964
  • Villa Bianchi, Piadena, Cremona, Italy, 1968

Splugen Brau warehouse and office building, Mestre, Venice, Italy, 1962

Villa Bianchi, Piadena, Cremona, Italy, 1968

  • Offices and Armitalia plant, Cinisello Balsamo, Milan, Italy, 1968
  • Pederzoli Villa, Bardolino, Verona, Italy, 1971
  • Residential building, Arosio, Como, Italy, 1977
  • Snaidero office building, Majano del Friuli, Udine, Italy, 1978
  • Competition for a theater auditorium at the Fiera di Vicenza, 1986
  • Railway bypass: Republica and Venezia underground stations, Milan, Italy, 1992

Offices and Armitalia plant, Cinisello Balsamo, Milan, Italy, 1968

Snaidero office building, Majano del Friuli, Udine, Italy, 1978

Notable Design Projects by Angelo Mangiarotti

Angelo Mangiarotti’s design collaboration with several Italian brands resulted in a unique collection of furniture and home accessories. Here are some of his most remarkable design projects:

The 1950s

  • Tables and seat designed with Bruno Morassutti for Frigerio (1952): Tables and seat with curved plywood legs. The table tops are in glass.

Tables and Seat by Mangiarotti and Morassutti for Frigerio, 1952

  • Bookcase designed with Bruno Morassutti for Frigerio (1952): Bookcase with movable shelves in curved plywood; metallic uprights pressure fitted between floor and ceiling.

Bookcase by Angelo Mangiarotti and Bruno Morassutti for Frigerio, 1952

  • Bedroom furniture designed with Bruno Morassutti for Mascheroni (1955): Bedroom furniture with a supporting structure on a trestle.

Bedroom Sideboard by Mangiarotti and Morassutti for Mascheroni, 1955

  • Bookcase designed with Bruno Morassutti for Mascheroni (1955): Bookcase composed of wooden elements stacked on a trestle.

Bookcase by Angelo Mangiarotti and Bruno Morassutti for Mascheroni, 1955

  • Armchair designed with Bruno Morassutti for Mascheroni (1956): Dismountable armchair in wood with foam rubber cushions.

Armchair by Mangiarotti and Morassutti for Mascheroni, 1956

  • Shelf furniture for Frigerio (1957): Multipurpose shelf furniture.

Shelf Furniture by Mangiarotti for Frigerio, 1957

  • Dining chair for Frigerio (1959): High-back dining chair with a mahogany wood structure.

Dining chair by Angelo Mangiarotti for Frigerio, 1959

The 1960s

  • 1110 armchair for Cassina (1964): Armchair with cast aluminum support, castyro structure, and rubber padding.

Model 1110 Armchair by Cassina, 1964

  • Armchairs for Cassina (1965): Armchairs of various heights and sizes, in which Mangiarotti studies, and especially experiments, the molding of expanded polyurethane.

Armchairs by Angelo Mangiarotti for Cassina, 1965

  • Multi Use bookcase for Poltronova (1965): Sideboard/bookcase with sliding doors on aluminum rails.

Multi Use Bookcase by Mangiarotti for Poltronova, 1965

  • Dining table for Molteni (1966): The designer creates a plastic shape that continues between the stem and the top of the table in solid walnut elements.

Dining Table by Angelo Mnagiarotti for Molteni, 1966

  • Giogali ceiling lamp for Vistosi (1966): It is an interesting update of the Murano tradition, obtained with a hookable glass element, with which Mangiarotti proposes a system for composing cascades of light of varying size and configuration.

Giogali Ceiling Lamp by Vistosi, 1966

  • Cathedra sofa for Artemide (1967): Sofa of plastic and enveloping shape, with fiberglass shell; foam rubber cushions.

Cathedra Sofa by Angelo Mangiarotti for Artemide, 1967

  • Saffo and Lesbo lamps for Artemide (1967): The two lamps are made of blown glass, shaded, whose plastically soft shape rests on a small cylindrical metal base.

Saffo and Lesbo Table Lamps by Angelo Mangiarotti for Artemide, 1967

  • In armchair for Zanotta (1968): Monoblock armchair, completely stamped in integral foam.

In Armchair by Angelo Mangiarotti for Zanotta, 1968

  • Cub 8 equipped wall for Poltronova (1968): Multipurpose equipped wall.

Cub8 Equipped Wall by Poltronova, 1968

  • Dining table for Brambilla (1968): Round table with central support cylindrical and flared in Vitreous China.

Dining Table by Mangiarotti for Brambilla, 1968

  • Dining table for T70 (1969): Table totally in marble, with a circular top.

Marble Dining Table by Tisettanta, 1969

  • Cnosso ceiling lamp for Artemide (1969): Modular ceiling light printed in plastic material.

Cnosso Ceiling Lamp by Artemide, 1969

The 1970s

  • Eros tables for Skipper (1971): Series of marble tables with legs dry fitted into the tops.

Eros Series by Angelo Mangiarotti for Skipper, 1971

  • Talamo bed for T70 (1971): Talamo, wooden bed, with conically turned stone feet and equipped headboard.

Talamo bed by Angelo Mangiarotti for Tisettanta, 1971

  • Tavolozzo table for FontanaArte (1974): Table with eccentric marble support embedded in the glass top.

Tavolozzo Table by FontanaArte, 1974

  • Spirale ceiling lamp for Candle (1974): Pendant lamp with bulb protected by a metal spring.

Spirale Ceiling Lamp by Candle, 1974

  • De Nos dining chair for Lema (1975): Solid wood chair.

De Nos dining Chair by Lema, 1975

  • Assieme dining chair for Lema (1976): Wooden chair belonging to the homonymous furniture series.

Assieme Dining Chair by Angelo Mangiarotti for Lema, 1976

  • Assieme bed for Lema (1976): Bed with equipped headboard and lighting incorporated in the rear box.

Assieme Bed by Lema, 1976

  • Tre 3 dining chair for Skipper (1978): Chair with feet and frame in aluminum.

Tre 3 Dining Chair by Mangiarotti for Skipper, 1978

  • Incas tables for Skipper (1978): Stone tables in pietra serena where the stability of the interlocking is ensured by gravity. This innovative use of materials showcases Mangiarotti’s expertise and creativity in creating functional and visually appealing furniture pieces.

Incas dining table by Skipper, 1978

  • Lari table lamp for Artemide (1978): Table lamp with a metal base and a diffuser in stamped glass.

Lari Table Lamp by Angelo Mangiarotti for Artemide, 1978

  • Egina ceiling lamp for Artemide (1979): Ceiling lamp with stamped glass diffuser.

Egina Ceiling Lamp by Artemide, 1979

The 1980s and the 1990s

  • Floor lamp for Skipper (1980): Floor lamp with adjustable body, made of polycarbonate. Chrome-plated tube stem and marble base.

Floor Lamp by Angelo Mangiarotti for Skipper, 1980

  • Egisto wall lamp for Artemide (1985): Wall lamp in frosted stamped glass, also available in a corner version.

Egisto Wall Lamp by Artemide, 1985

  • Pergamo wall lamp for Artemide (1989): Wall lamp with a diffuser in frosted stamped glass.

Pergamo Wall Lamp by Artemide, 1989

  • Ypsilon bookcase for Baleri Italia (1996): The name of the bookcase comes from the particular shape of the upright: it is made by bending a sheet of continuous metal.

Ypsilon Bookcase by Baleri Italia, 1996

  • Onda and Linea lamps for Quattrifolio (1996): Lamps from the Poesia series. They are made by assembling, circularly around a metal structure, some shaped slabs in frosted glass.

Onda Lamp by Mangiarotti for Quattrifolio, 1976

Linea Lamp by Mangiarotti for Quattrifolio, 1976

  • T-table for Baleri Italia (1998): Table conceived according to the author’s typical constructivist structural concepts. The structure is made with aluminum profiles. The tops, in marble or glass, have chamfered edges.

T-Table by Baleri Italia, 1998

Accolades and Honors

Mangiarotti’s contributions to design and architecture were recognized when he was awarded the Compasso d’Oro for his career in 1994. In 1998, he received an honorary degree in engineering from the Technical University of Munich. He remained active in the field until he died in Milan in 2011.

The Legacy of Angelo Mangiarotti

Angelo Mangiarotti was an original author in the vast panorama of international architecture. An Italian master of style, he was adept at exporting his design philosophy globally. Since the early ’50s, his works have served as reference models for architecture, engineering, design, and contemporary art.

Like Ponti, Nervi, and Piano, Mangiarotti was one of the few Italian architects capable of exporting his project ideas and philosophy. He was unique in his ability to converse with all these disciplines in unison, making him a rare designer, architect, and sculptor.

Mangiarotti believed in the utility of design, stating, “The fundamental starting point for designing a design object lies in its usefulness to people. An object that does not arise from a necessity cannot even be considered as belonging to this category, the design.”

He had a deep interest and curiosity about materials and their possible ways of working, often finding solutions that were at the edge. He emphasized the importance of careful material selection, as it establishes a delicate relationship with the form.

In conclusion, Angelo Mangiarotti’s journey through design and architecture is a testament to his originality, innovation, and unwavering commitment to the people’s needs. His legacy continues to inspire and influence designers worldwide.

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