When we think of Mario Bellini, we think of the renaissance of Italian product design, of the high-tech look of the 60s, which has since become synonymous with Italian design, of the high style of Italian design, of which Bellini had become one of the most substantial ambassadors. I had first learnt about Bellini’s accomplishments, as a newcomer to NYC, when viewing his retrospective at MoMA in 1987. I was in my early 20s, just about to give birth to my twin sons, and his language in furniture design was sought-after by young professionals of my generation. I have kept that catalog ever since, and it has been one of the core books in building my my beloved library of design books. A new and broad examination of the contribution and legacy of the 81-year old designer, has been undertaken in a new exhibition ‘Italian Beauty,’ opened at the Milan Triennale. We learn about his crucial role in the landscape of Italian design, with products he designed for Vitra, B&B Italiaa, and Cassina. But his most memorable, his most iconic product is certainly the Programma 101, which he created for Olivetti in 1964, still considered as the prototype of the desktop computer (above).
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