March 5, 2010 / 11:34 AM / 7 years ago

Milan museum honors chair designer Magistretti

MILAN (Reuters Life!) - A new museum commemorating Italian designer Vico Magistretti, famous for his creation of the stackable plastic chair, opened on Wednesday to pay tribute to a key figure in Italian modernism.

The three-room museum is housed in the central Milan studio where Magistretti did most of his work. It was founded by the Vico Magistretti Foundation, which is headed by the architect's daughter Susanna Magistretti.

"The idea is to introduce people to Magistretti's oeuvre through the work he left us," curator Simona Romano told Reuters at the museum opening.

Visitors will be able to access an extensive archive of Magistretti's work through a wall-hung touch screen computer.

A series of objects and drawings will also be displayed bearing witness to the industrious flair of the man known as the dean of Italian modernism.

The Selene chair was copyrighted by Magistretti in 1967, but was not produced and marketed by furniture group Artemide until 1969. It was recently reintroduced into the company's catalog by popular acclaim.

Magistretti, who died in 2006 aged 85, "sought to combine the aesthetic with the utilitarian," Romano said.

She added that one of his mottoes was to "look at usual things with unusual eyes."

Besides the Selene chair, Magistretti also designed such well-known objects as the Telegono table lamp, the Ospite sofa bed, the plastic Gaudi chair and the Nuvola Rossa bookshelves.

Magistretti, a good friend of Italian architect Renzo Piano, also worked as an architect despite the enormous success he had with industrial design. Examples of his work can be seen at the museum with an invitation to visit his buildings in Milan.

Reporting by Stephen Jewkes, editing by Paul Casciato

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