Joe Colombo


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  • Industrial and Commercial Art
  • Decorative Arts, Furniture, and Industrial Design


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Colombo initially trained as a painter at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts and joined the Nuclear Painting Movement before studying architecture at Milan Polytechnic. In 1962 he opened his own design office and led progressive Italian design with a series of products in new materials, mostly in plastics. He was influenced by the atmosphere of Pop art and worked on many experimental ideas including multi‐functional, mobile ‘living units’ such as the exhibition of Italy: The New Domestic Landscape shown at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1972. His design innovations included one of the first one‐piece injection‐moulded plastic chairs and a complete kitchen on wheels. Similar ingenuity can be seen in his 1970 design of the brightly coloured ABS Boby trolley for Bieffeplast. Running on castors, with pivoting drawers and shelves, and multiple compartments, it was suitable for use as an office or bathroom organizer, bedside table, or storage unit. Colombo received many design awards, among them two Compasso d'Oros in 1967 and 1970. He worked for a wide range of companies, amongst them Comfort (including the 1963 Astrea armchair and sofa) and Kartell (including the 1975 Universale chair in ABS, as well as many lights).

Subjects: Industrial and Commercial Art — Decorative Arts, Furniture, and Industrial Design.

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