Joe Colombo

Joe Colombo (real name Cesare) was born in Milan on 30 July 1930. He was known throughout the world for being one of the most important Italian architects and designers. He began his artistic and creative career as a painter and sculptor encouraged above all by his mother, also an artist. He inherited his father's curiosity and ingenuity from his father.

Joe Colombo

Joe Colombo

In 1949 Joe Colombo enrolled at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts in Milan and moved immediately afterwards to the Milan Polytechnic where he received his degree in architecture in the 1954.

At first he devoted himself to painting and sculpture. During his studies he met the artists Sergio Dangelo and Enrico Bay, creators of the Nuclear Movement. Joe Colombo until 1958 took care of abstract painting and sculpture and his works were fueled by an almost futuristic aesthetic. In 1959 his father died and Joe Colombo decided to manage the family appliance business. Thanks to this activity he began to experiment with new production methods and materials.

One of his first projects was a series of installation works carried out with the assembly of televisions. The work was exhibited in the 1954 at the Milan Triennale. In 1962 Joe Colombo opened his design studio in Milan and began with the design of furniture, interiors, lighting and glass objects. In the same year, with the collaboration of his brother Gianni, he designed the “Colombo 281” lamp for O-Luce, later nicknamed “Acrilica” referring to the raw material of reference. The lamp had a curved shape, inside the steel base there was a light bulb which by conduction allowed the light to rise along the transparent body, illuminating it completely.

In 1964 “Acrilica” won the gold medal at the XIII Milan Triennale. In 1963 Joe Colombo created the “N. 4801 ”which consisted of three pieces of plywood sandwiched together. In the same year for Combort F.lli Longhi he designed the “Elda” chair using fiberglass and seven tubes of leather covers. The “Additional Living System” designed in 1967-68 was a seating furniture, made up of elements joined at will with clamps. The "Tube Chair" (1969-1970) consisted of four upholstered elements with frames of tubes of different diameters, which fixed together would create a piece of furniture to sit on or be nested to save space.

Joe Colombo's creativity also interested in interior decorations. Individual pieces of furniture were joined as functional units to furnish traditional living areas. From his ingenuity came "Night Cell", "Central Living", "Kitchen Box", "Roto-Living", "Cabriolet Bed", "Total Furnishing Unit". Joe Colombo died aged just 41. The emphasis of its curved shapes, use of color and emerging materials are supported by a large number of fans. Even today his art is exhibited all over the world.


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  • Red Armchair Multichair design Joe Colombo for B-LINE

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