1985 Massimo and Leil Vignelli for Casigliani Italia Kono Table
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Although you might not know them by name, Massimo and Lella Vignelli's vision and aesthetic instantly recognizable. Few artists have ...
more Although you might not know them by name, Massimo and Lella Vignelli's vision and aesthetic instantly recognizable. Few artists have had such a huge impact on the world around them within their own lifetime. Massimo Vignelli's ethos was "If you can design one thing, you can design everything," and the Vignelli's massive ouevre , which spanned the latter half of the 20th century, is testament to this. They effortlessly bridged the seemingly irreconcilable minimalism of modernists of the mid-century and the exuberance of the postmodernists in the last few decades of the 20th century throughout his career and garnered huge success in the design world. Founding members of ADI, Unimark International and ultimately, Vignelli Associates, the husband and wife team are responsible for some of the most iconic designs of the 20th century, including the New York City subway map and signage (1972 and updated in 2011), the graphics, packaging, logos, fonts for American Airlines, IBM, Knoll International, and more.
In 1972, the Vignellis designed a map for the New York subway system based on "abstract simplicity". For example, all of the lines bend only at 45 or 90 degrees. Every line has a color. Every stop is designated with a black dot, the corresponding negative of the colored circular signs on the actual platform.
A former employee Michael Bierut of the Vignelli's famously wrote that "it seemed to me that the whole city of New York was a permanent Vignelli exhibition [around 1981]. To get to the office, I rode in a subway with Vignelli-designed signage, shared the sidewalk with people holding Vignelli-designed Bloomingdale’s shopping bags, walked by St. Peter’s Church with its Vignelli-designed pipe organ visible through the window. At Vignelli Associates, at 23 years old, I felt I was at the center of the universe."
Vignelli's designs were famous for following a minimal aesthetic and a narrow range of typefaces that Vignelli considered to be perfect in their genre, including Akzidenz-Grotesk, Bodoni, Helvetica, Garamond No. 3 and Century Expanded. He wrote that, "In the new computer age, the proliferation of typefaces and type manipulations represents a new level of visual pollution threatening our culture. Out of thousands of typefaces, all we need are a few basic ones, and trash the rest."
Lella Vignelli, often considered the 'business" arm of the operation, was actually a renowned interior and furniture designer in the 1960's. Working as a team, the Vignelli's significant furniture designs include the Handkerchief chair for Knoll International (1982), the Serenissimo table (1985) for Italian manufacturer Acerbis, and the Konos Table for Casigliani (1984-5) available here. Even though their accomplishments belong to both Lella and Massimo, Lella's critical eye guided the rational and geometric language one can find in their work. I believe the Konos table to be one of the most profound expressions of this geometric language and serenity.
Don't miss this chance to own an iconic piece of design history.
Please note: This piece is often misidentified as being a 1980's design by Roche Bobois. Roche Bobois (a retailer and manufacturer) sold pieces manufactured by the iconic mid-century Italian company known as Casigliani for a time in the 1980's, including the Kono table, but did not, at least to my knowledge, ever produce designs by the Vignelli's in-house. less
- 48ʺW × 48ʺD × 14ʺH
- Massimo and Lella Vignelli
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Otto Binx in Oakland, CA
After more than a decade in academia, both as doctoral candidate at NYU’s Institute ...
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