furnishing manufacturer (1949)
Kartell is an Italian company that produces furniture and plastic design objects, founded in 1949 in Noviglio, in the province of Milan, by the will of Giulio Castelli, chemical engineer graduated with the Nobel Prize in chemistry Giulio Natta.
His studies on plastic materials lead him to an intuition that will prove decisive for the destiny of the company and of the history of Italian and world design: use plastic in home furnishings and replace traditional materials such as glass and wood with plastics.
In the panorama of those years, plastic is still seen as a cheap, but low-quality substitute for more noble materials. The courageous challenge, transforming matter and above all its perception by users into an alternative element of aesthetic value, is won thanks to technology and investment in the design project.
The particularity of Kartell is the use of plastic in furniture in a completely original way and with the use of processing technologies traditionally used in other industrial sectors. Kartell products are totally made in Italy, even if the largest sales market is made up of the United States.
In the 1960s, in parallel with the international affirmation of "Made in Italy", Kartell consolidated its identity by developing research on plastic materials and redefining the shapes and functions of products.
From then until today the company's history is full of successes that have given a new, more cheerful and carefree face to domestic design. From the beginning designers such as Anna Castelli Ferrieri and Gino Colombini bring in the homes of Italians - and not only - objects of common use colored and well finished, giving new dignity to the anonymity of these types: containers, baskets, basins and basins they animate new life and are no longer elements of the domestic landscape to be hidden, but to be exhibited.
In 1972 Kartell was invited to participate in the exhibition "Italy: The New Domestic Landscape" at the MoMA, Modern Art Museum in New York with three avant-garde living prototypes designed by Gae Aulenti, Ettore Sottsass and Marco Zanuso as well as numerous pieces of production included in the permanent collection of the museum.
In the 90s Kartell entrusted the design to old and new internationally renowned designers such as Philippe Starck, Patricia Urquiola, Piero Lissoni, Alberto Meda, Ron Arad, Antonio Citterio, Vico Magistretti, Marteen Van Severen, Ferruccio Laviani, Michele De Lucchi, Anna Castelli Ferrieri.
These collaborations allow the company to develop an avant-garde stylistic and technical image, famous all over the world for over fifty years, creating products destined to become great design classics.
In 1999 Kartell founded the eponymous museum, which collects and exhibits more than 1000 creations.
Numerous Kartell products have received international awards, including the Compasso d'Oro award, awarded annually by the ADI (Association for Industrial Design), considered the most important award in the sector.
Among the most famous pieces of Kartell are: Bookworm bookcase, designed by Ron Arad. The library, the result of careful technological research, is flexible and can take the chosen form without losing strength and functionality.
Maui by Vico Magistretti, one of the best-selling seats in the world.
Eros, armchair designed by Philippe Starck with a wraparound shape, with a chromed structure with central support, on feet or on wheels. The transparent seat is made in different colors (crystal, yellow, light green, orange, cobalt blue) or in a covering version (white, black, red).