vico magistretti office museum
vico magistretti office museum vico magistretti office museum
mar 08, 2010

vico magistretti office museum

on march 4 opened the vico magistretti office-museum, directed by the vico magistretti foundation and located in the rooms, where master architect and designer vico magistretti (06.10.1920 – 19.09.2006) worked since 1946. magistretti was a prolific designer and the iconographic material, collected by the foundation is very diverse. every three month a different exhibition will be hosted in the space, illustrating one of magistretti’s masterpieces. the first exhibition centers around the world’s first monobloc plastic chair.

in 1967 vico magistretti patented the principle for his ‘selene’ chair, made from just a single piece of 3 mm thick reglar (fiberglass-reinforced polyester). magistretti resolved the technical difficulties associated with the strenght of the legs by configuring them in an ‘S’ shape.

an interactive screen displays a timeline of projects, photos, sketches …

original sketches by vico magistretti image courtesy the vico magistretti foundation

original sketches by vico magistretti image courtesy the vico magistretti foundation

select a sketch through touching the screen image © designboom

all sketches by vico magistretti can be viewed (and zoomed) on the multimedia screens. a project by demade studio. image © designboom

original sketches by vico magistretti image courtesy the vico magistretti foundation

patent of invention, issued in 1967 image © designboom

vico magistretti developed the innovative S-shaped cross section leg to give the sheet material stability – there would have been more solutions to withstand maximum tensile stress but none in such a graceful way.

‘selene’ prototype model in compression-moulded fiberglass image © designboom

‘selene’ image from the 1969 artemide catalogue

‘selene’ was originally produced by artemide in 1969 in reinforced polyester. the shape of the elastic back rest is very comfortable. thanks to this innovative industrial production method, suggested by magistretti, ‘selene’ was one of the most affordable industrial products of its time. ‘selene’ is included in the MOMA permanent design collection and the vitra design museum

on the table the miniature version of ‘selene’, produced by vitra (P.S. the real-size ‘selene’ stacks more compact and 6 high) image © designboom

this was the meeting room of magistretti’s office, on the wall a few architecture models are displayed. image courtesy the vico magistretti foundation

‘selene’ on display – taken out of the mould, before refinement, produced by heller image © designboom

in 2002, heller reissued vico magistretti’s stackable classic in white, black, red nylon, and transparent polycarbonate

detail of heller’s ‘selene’ taken out of the mould, before refinement. image © designboom

detail of S-structure leg image © designboom

display of original sketches image © designboom

a view of magistretti’s room, this and the meeting room are the only spaces of the museum which remind of the original magistretti office image © designboom

designboom’s editor-in-chief birgit lohmann collaborated with vico magistretti, right after her industrial design studies from 1988 and continued to assist him in developing many products and furniture pieces for over 15 years. for short periods she had her drawing desk inside this office. the office-museum is of course very different from the architecture office at that time. to make it suitable for long-time storage of materials and a for functional display of information for visitors, a renovation of magistretti’s original office was necessary. the architectural project has been realized by paolo imperatori, magistretti’s collaborator in the more recent years.

vico magistretti’s daughter susanna and son stefano magistretti are heading the foundation.

other founders are silvana annicchiarico of the milan triennale design museum, and following

CEO’s of companies which have collaborated with vico magistretti:

ernesto gismondi of artemide,

gianluca armento of cassina,

luca de padova, of the de padova,

manuela messina of flou,

antonio verderi of oluce,

and enrico schiffini of schiffini.

exhibition curator is simona romano, the archivist is vico magistretti’s niece, margherita pellino.

the vico magistretti office-museum is in via conservatorio 20 in the city center of milan. the museum is open to the public from tuesday to friday 2pm to 6pm.

(website currently in construction) for more information [email protected]

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

comments policy
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

design news

keep up with our daily and weekly stories
502,531 subscribers
- see sample
- see sample