Born: 14 May 1916
Died: 11 July 2001
Marco Zanuso was an Italian architect and designer of household furnishings who helped define his country’s sleek and functional postwar style.
Zanuso was born in Milan in 1916 and received his architectural degree from Milan Polytechnic in 1939. He served in the navy during World War II and opened his own design office in 1945. He edited Domus and Casabella, two important design magazines, early in his career, and he used them to promote modern Italian style. Zanuso also shared his adoption of new materials, like latex foam and acrylics, in its pages.
Zanuso became known for using industrial materials in his furniture, from the “Lady” chair of 1951, constructed of foam rubber and Nastrocord rather than metal springs, to the 4999 model of 1964, a children’s chair made entirely of injection-molded plastic. In 1972, he designed the Lombrico, or infinity sofa, consisting of a modular fiberglass seating area with a polyfoam seat that resembled a caterpillar. His designs for electronics maker Brionvega, such as radios and portable televisions, also embodied his vision for sophisticated and well-constructed objects. Many of his designs are now housed in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
As an architect, he served as a professor at Milan Polytechnic, designed industrial and commercial buildings for IBM in Italy, and renovated two landmark theaters in Milan.