Farewell Enzo Mari

Published: 20 Oct 2020
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Italian designer Enzo Mari passed away on October 19, 2020, aged 88

“Bye Enzo.You’re leaving like a Giant.”

Stefano Boeri

During his 60-year-career, the Milan-based designer, described as a ‘giant’ of design, was prolific in his output, designing for many of Italy’s biggest brands including Alessi, Artemide, Driade and Zanotta. For Danese, he created some of his most iconic products including the Timor perpetual calendar and the 16 Animals game.

A retrospective of his work is currently on show at the Triennale Milano and its president, Stefano Boeri, said, ‘Bye Enzo. You’re leaving like a Giant.’

Mari was born in Novara, northern Italy, in 1932 and studied at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera in Milan from 1952-1956. During his career, he strived to create well-designed pieces for ordinary people and he worked with a variety of materials including paper, wood, glass, clay, iron, and steel, moving easily between the spheres of art, design, architecture and graphic design. He won the industrial design award, the Golden Compass, five times, for his work for Danese but also for the Delfina chair, made of fabric and stackable, and designed for Driade in 1974.

Mari’s archive will be donated to the city of Milan, but on the condition, set by him, that it should not be seen for 40 years; the current retrospective will be the last time many of his pieces will be on show for quite some time.

According to the Milanese newspaper ‘Corriere della Sera’, Mari died due to complications related to Covid-19. The following day, Mari’s wife, Italian curator and art critic, Lea Vergine, 82, also died in hospital from complications related to the virus.