The eclectic and inventive furniture designs and interiors of Carlo Mollino (1905-73) draws its dynamic tension and figurative energy from the Second Futurist and Surrealist avant-gardes. Born in the quintessentially industrial city of Turin, the son of a prominent design engineer, and an architect by training, he shunned the prevailing rationalist modernism of the 40’s and 50’s in favour of a more expressive organic architecture and design.
During his career, he was regarded as somewhat of an enigma, a wholly independent mind, both logical and mathematical in his analysis of structure, yet resolutely anti-theoretical. Renowned for his focused and bespoke approach to problem solving, Mollino was also a remarkable, ambi-dextrous draughtsman. Dazzling all with his ability to envisage and convey fully formed 3D concepts within space, while drawing with both hands simultaneously, it was as though his layered thoughts and the fluid movement of his ideas were played across twenty parallel games of chess all at once.
The furniture and interiors he designed possess fragments of each of his many meticulous, glamorous, and enthusiastic passions, whether they were as a ski instructor, a pilot, a racing car driver, a photographer, an occultist, or as an artist. His love of the female form, the natural structures of trees, the dynamism of animal movements, combined with his intuitive engineering skills allowed overlap and intermingling to form a life-long adoration of craftsmanship, beauty, precision, and material experimentation. He revelled and excelled in the world where the boundary between art, engineering, and the designed object were blurred. In many ways, his designs are the precursor to the architectural engineering of Santiago Calatrava, and the expressive furniture and product design of Marc Newson.
For all the Arabesque and provocative imagery expressed within his experimental work, he anchored his visionary output back to a process of practical inspiration – to design forms for the future which entwined the essence of a technological present with his artistic knowledge of the past.
For MAAPS, Mollino’s focused and immersive pursuit of a well-articulated design solution, which interplays movement, nature, choice of material and an engineered artfulness aligns with our own approach to solving any project, whether large or small in scale. Like Mollino, we strive to keep a space alive and living, embedded in nature, solved with logic and ingenuity, yet simultaneously piquing the imaginative and the energetic.
Carlo Mollino – ISBN 9 780 7148 5778 7