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Today in our weekly rubric about the most famous designers of the 20th century we are approaching Joe Colombo’s work. In his brief but brilliant career, this famous designer produced a series of innovations which made him one of Italy’s most influential Italian product designers. From the Universale, the first chair to be moulded from one material, to the all-in-one Boby Trolley, everything Colombo created was intended for “the environment of the future”.
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When most designers discover that their work was been ripped off, they erupt in understandable fury; not Joe Colombo who would say: “We’ll just have to make it better.” And if a manufacturer didn’t show as much enthusiasm for a project as Colombo himself, he didn’t waste time arguing, but stopped work and found another company to make it.
Thanks to this energy and optimism famous designer Joe Colombo produced an extraordinarily broad body of work in his tragically short career. Not only did he die young – of heart failure at the age of 41 – but he also came to design relatively late having devoted his twenties to painting and sculpture. Yet in his decade or so as a designer, Colombo was exceptionally prolific. He created some of the most memorable products of the 1960s: from the Universale, the first chair to be moulded from a single material, to the futuristic all-in-one living systems which culminated in his opulent Visiona, the “habitat of the future”.