...And for all the interplay between the various galaxies, stars and energies that compose that universe: many of her product, lighting and furniture projects originating as they did in context of architecture, interior and theatrical commissions, including, for example, the injection moulded polyurethane 4794 armchair through Kartell which was originally designed for Fiat showrooms, and which, as with Stringa, celebrates the art of lounging, the loll; the wood and metal Rossini chair, designed in 1984 for Aulenti's scenography for Ronconi's production of Rossini's Il viaggio a Reims, and later taken on by Maxalto/B&B Italia; or the King Sun and Pipistrello lamps created for the Olivetti showrooms in Buenos Aires and Paris respectively...
Founded by chemist Giulio Castelli in 1949, from its beginnings the Italian design manufacturer Kartell has focussed on plastics: albeit originally car parts and not design objects. After extending the product range to include laboratory equipment and household utensils, furniture and lighting were added in the 1960s. Crucial to Kartell's development was the takeover of the company by Claudio Luti, Giulio and Anna Castelli's son-in-law, in 1988. Luti, who had been Managing Director at Versace for a decade, brought a new level of drive and vitality to Kartell and began extensive collaborations with international design greats such as Philippe Starck, Ron Arad, Antonio Citterio and Patricia Urquiola - product lines that still define Kartell.
Kartell products are created in collaboration with international designers such as Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, Mario Bellini, or Marcel Wanders. These collaborations have proven to be fruitful and productive for designers and the company for decades and consistently produce innovative, futuristic products that explore the limits of plastic and design. And connections which are often very long-lasting, particularly in the case of Philippe Starck who has designed numerous Kartell seating furniture since the 1990s, including the iconic Kartell chair Louis Ghost. Patricia Urquiola, an internationally renowned Spanish designer, has also collaborated with Kartell several times and, in addition to seating, has designed items of everyday use for the Italian design manufacturer; while in context of Kartell lighting design Ferruccio Laviani is one of the brand's most important collaborators, having realised table lamps such as the Bourgie or Cindy for Kartell.
Legendary collections and successes
Kartell has been producing groundbreaking plastic designer furniture for more than 50 years and in that period has revolutionised design with futuristic shapes, ironic pop elements and intense colours. Over the years, numerous product lines have been created which have achieved legendary status and remain internationally successful. Anna Castelli Ferrieri, for example, is responsible for the iconic shelving units Componibili, while the Kartell Masters by Philippe Starck and Eugeni Quitllet is just one of several Kartell chairs that has made design history. Kartell has also won numerous international awards over the years, including the Compasso d’Oro nine times and in 2000 the Guggenheim Enterprise and Culture Award for the Kartell Museum.
Contemporary developments at Kartell
Kartell is now run by the third generation as a family business, and is run today by Claudio Luti, his daughter Lorenza and son Frederico. New product lines such as outdoor products have recently been launched and innovative developments in the fields of materials and process technologies are continuously promoted. In 2020 Kartell released three new environmentally friendly product lines, including their first chair made from 100 percent recycled material, the A.I. by Philippe Starck. The Kartell chair Smart Wood from 2019 belongs to the first product series of the manufacturer made of wood and is manufactured using innovative 3D technology. Innovations which help the company grow globally: in 2019 Kartell opened a flagship store in Tokyo, as well as staging extensive trade fair presentations in Moscow, Shanghai and Stockholm.
smow sells exclusively originals from licensed manufacturers and is an official trading partner of Kartell.
More about 'Kartell' in our blog
smow Blog Interview: Glen Oliver Löw - I have always been of the opinion that design begins with a problem.
...Following his graduation from the Domus Academy Glen Oliver Löw remained in Milan where he took up a position with Antonio Citterio, becoming a partner in the practice in 1990, and developing a wide range of projects for companies as varied as, amongst others, Vitra, Kartell and Flos...
...In a brave early move Verner Panton attempted to go solo with his Bachelor chair, Colombo managing to counter at the last minute with his Armchair Modell 4801 for Kartell...
...Particularly nasty - access to this Dr Na by Philippe Starckfor Kartell has been blocked for the press corp!...
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