Danese Milano & more - Italian Design from a German collection

Pre auction report

Over a period of forty years, this collection of art editions and design objects has grown It provides an almost complete overview of the designs edited by Danese from 1960 to the 1990s, with a focus on Enzo Mari, and spans an arc to the expressive design of the 1980s.

The foundation stone for the collection was laid in the first half of the 1960s - only a short time after the collectors' interest in contemporary art and design was awakened with visits to the 1958 World's Fair in Brussels and the 1959 documenta in Kassel. Their preoccupation with concrete and kinetic art led them to look at the multiples by Enzo Mari, who since the late 1950s had been intensively concerned with questions of abstract serial forms and their three-dimensional perception in space. Limited works such as the sculpture 'Quattro spirali' (1958/68), the kinetic object 'Composizione autocondotta' (1959) as well as the series of balls, cylinders and cubes made of synthetic resin 'Deformazione ottico dinamica' (1959-63) illustrate Mari's innovative understanding of art and the many facets in the pictorial implementation of his ideas.

**Among the early objects in the collection are Enzo Mari's bowls 'Putrelle' (cat. 7) and the fruit bowl 'Atollo' (cat. 31), which at first glance hide their possible function behind a minimalist sculptural aesthetic. Since Mari's ideas often contradicted traditional schemes of industrial design, he often felt compelled to develop the technical prerequisites for industrial production in series. With the fruit bowl 'Atollo', the challenge was to bring the perforated PVC into the desired shape. This was achieved by introducing an additional rubber mat when heating the material above the wooden model. Designs from the 1980s, which Enzo Mari supplied for Zani & Zani, show his decades-long quest to find an ideal functional and formal solution for every type of utility object.

With great enthusiasm, the collectors followed the progress of Italian design production in the 1970s and 1980s and secured some expressive ceramic objects from limited editions by Matteo Thun for Memphis and by Marcello Panza for Anthologie Quartett. In times of social and political upheaval, the designers reacted with a counter-programme to the functionalism of the past - bright colours, wild patterns and unconventional combinations of forms lead to a new decorative opulence.