Italian architectural and design studio
Archizoom Associati (1966–1974) was a dynamic and utopian Italian architectural and design studio, one of the founders of the Florentine Radical movement, and the strongest voice of the Radical Architecture movement. Although it was an organized movement for less than a decade, its concepts hold a revered status today and are standard topics covered in design and architectural curricula, and many of the studio’s designs and products are in prominent museum collections around the world.
Gilberto Corretti, Massimo Morozzi and Andrea Branzi found Archizoom
The advent of Archizoom was thanks to four pioneering Florentine designers and architects—Andrea Branzi (1938), Gilberto Corretti (1941), Massimo Morozzi (1941–2014), and Paolo Deganello (1940)—who joined forces in 1966 bound by their shared vision for avant-garde design. They channeled this energy into their first exhibition, titled “Superarchitettura,” in which the members of Archizoom partnered with Superstudio, another Florentine design firm. In this showcase, they paired sample prototypes of revolutionary furnishings with colorful projections to create an almost otherworldly space.
The next year, Archizoom organized its second exhibition, titled “Superarchitettura 2.” Shortly thereafter, Archizoom added two new members, the designers Dario Bartolini (1943) and Lucia Bartolini (1944), into its collaborative studio. The infusion of these new creative spirits accelerated Archizoom’s momentum and assertiveness, and the traditional elements of refined and elegant Italian design were set aside in favor of playful, boundary-pushing forms that echoed the energy of the contemporary Pop Art age. read more
By breaking these rules, Archizoom’s members also established new parameters for art, architecture, and design and the ways in which all three could be integrated into the modern lifestyle. To that end, their design of the exhibition “No-Stop City” (1970) revealed their powerful ability to expand their design thinking to the realm of the modern city by incorporating a novel vision of urbanization.
No-Stop City is a theoretical project that was published for the first time in Casabella magazine in 1970 with the name “City, assembly line of social issues, ideology and theory of the metropolis.” The project proposes an evolving city without architecture, built with a repetitive pattern with numerous hubs that form a continuous even structure. In this utopian structure, the pattern is only broken by natural features such as rivers or hills, and people live in tents.
In this city without architecture and its aesthetic value, humans live in a continuous flow of information, markets and services, and routinely use nature to create and decorate their environments. Spaces are adorned with rocks and branches that coexist with industrially generated materials and the basic tools of modern existence and transportation such as motorcycles and electric appliances.
Important furniture designs by Archizzoom
Among the most important furniture designs created by the Archizoom while the movement still formally existed are: the Superonda sofa (1966) designed by Andrea Branzi, which was first a foam-and-vinyl sofa, but later produced with two polyurethane blocks cut into two S-shape parts that can be stacked to different configurations; Dream bed, or Letti di Sogno, by Gilberto Corretti (1967)’ the Safari Sofa (1967-1968), which was made by inserting a semicircle with 6 upholstered seats into a lacquered fiberglass square; the San Remo halogen floor lamp (1968) which was an engagement present from Dario Bartolini to Lucia Morozzi, but designed by famed modernist architect Ernesto Nathan Rogers, in the shape of a palm tree with metal and stem base and methacrylate plastic pendant foliage; the now iconic Mies Chair (1969), which took the chrome frame used in the modernist Mies chair and cow hide elements used by Corbusier and reconfigured them to express a critical view point to the consumerism preferences prevalent at the time.
Museum exhibitions of Archizoom furniture, and designs and architectural concepts
Their work ascended to international acclaim with the display of their creations at the landmark 1972 exhibition “Italy: The New Domestic Landscape” at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York. Most recently, Archizoom was featured at the exhibition “Radical: Italian Design 1965-1985, The Dennis Freeman Collection.” at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (February 14, 2020–April 26, 2020).
Unbound by a particular medium, the masterminds of Archizoom explored the implications of Radical design across various disciplines. It was perhaps their individual quests for ongoing innovation that led to the group’s dissolution in 1974 as the members moved on to pursue their own practice.
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