vico magistretti courtesy de padova




february 2003:this was designboom’s first interview (march 22, 2000). we decided to re-publish it in a new translated version.




designboom (DB): what is the best moment of the day?


vico magistretti (VM): the evening, because its nice not to think.




DB: what kind of music do you listen to at the moment?


VM: I only listen to classical music. I love mozart, I don’t know anything about music. I’m not interested in music after shubert, I only like music up to Beethoven, him included.

vico magistretti interview

‘carimate’ chair 1959, for cassinanow manufactured by de padova




DB:do you listen to the radio?


VM: I listen to music on the radio.




DB: what books do you have on your bedside table?


VM: right now I have a pile of 30-40 books, but I’m not reading them, I’m just disorganized.




DB: do you read design magazines?


VM: no, never.

vico magistretti interview

‘vidun’ table 1986, for de padova




DB: where do you get news from? newspapers?


VM: I don’t read them often, I like the herald tribune the best.




DB: do you notice how women are dressing? do you have any preferences?

VM: I like women’s fashion very much.




DB: what kind of clothes do you avoid wearing?


VM: I never wear athletic clothing, even when I play golf I wear the pants I normally wear.

vico magistretti interview‘selene’ chair 1969 for artemide, now manufactured by heller


DB: do you have any pets?


VM: unfortunately no, I live alone and animals need to be taken care of.




DB: where do you work on your designs and projects?


VM: everywhere, in bed, on a plane, in my office. I always have something to write down ideas in, I sketch on newspapers or magazines in airplanes, usually I tear out the page and then draw on it.

vico magistretti interview

left: ‘samarcanda’ easy chair 1998, for campeggicenter: ‘vicosolo’ chair 1998, for fritz hansenright: ‘shigeto’ cupboard 1988, for de padova




DB: who would you like to design something for?

VM: I can’t stand schoolish-sounding titles like ‘pianist’s house on the garda lake’. I believe that architecture and work is always conditioned by reality. if not, then it is something else, a different work. this means that there is no excuse for designing ugly things. in the sense that since work is always conditioned, but it is born to be conditioned, a hypothetical work seems to me to be something absolutely stupid.




DB: do you discuss your work with architects and designers?


VM: nobody, milan is the city of solitude, nobody.

vico magistretti interview

‘maui’ chair 1997, for kartell




DB: describe your style, like a good friend of yours would describe it.


VM: style is a word which I detest, I think that the two greatest architects of this century were frank lloyd wright and le corbusier, I try do design as simply as possible, remove excess. I like mies when he said less is more. I think that this is the proper way to understand our work.




DB: which of your work has given you the most satisfaction?


VM: I never like to go back to work I’ve already completed, ever. sort of like how the guilty person should never go back to the scene of the crime. a project I really loved was a building on piazzale aquileia. but usually when I think back over my work I only see the errors I’ve made and I am indulgent towards them, I understand that even though I only see my mistakes, something remeins

vico magistretti interview

‘silver’ chair 1989, for de padova





DB: is there any designer and/or architect, you appreciate a lot?


VM: leaving out michelangelo, the modern movement is also my own history, I particularly admire franco albini and ignazio gardella.

vico magistretti interview

‘atollo’ lamp 1977, for oluce




DB: and those still active, are there any particular ones you appreciate?


VM: I like castiglioni’s work very much, and I don’t particularly like the work of the ‘in’ architects of the moment.

vico magistretti interview‘eclisse’ lamp 1965, for artemide




DB: what are you afraid of regarding the future ?


VM: I am an anxious person, and I’m afraid of everything.