Italian architect and designer
Claudio Vender (born March 20, 1904, Milan, Italy, died September, 23, 1986, Saronno, Italy) was a leading figure in 20th century modernist design. Along with career-long collaborator Mario Asnago (1898–1981), he succeeded in establishing a new Rationalist vision for Italian architecture.
Born in Milan in 1904, Vender revealed his artistic talents at a very young age and showed strong skill as both a painter and a pianist. These talents led to his acceptance into the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera in 1918 and then into the Accademia di Belle Arti di Bologna, where he received his architectural license in 1922. During his studies, Vender began to build his relationship with Mario Asnago, such that, following completion of their licensure, they established a collaborative workshop, the Studio Asnago-Vender Architetti, on the Via Cappuccio in Milan later that same decade.
The studio’s first major successes were within the realm of architecture. For example, their design of the Palazzo de Via Manin (1933), an innovative design of the apartment block on Via Euripide (1934), and the mixed-used structures on the Via Alberto Albricci (1939), all in Milan, expressed the streamlined surfaces that were at once both discreet and imposing within the varied landscape of the city. At the same time, the novelty of the mixed-use structure, combined with the emphasis on green space and the ways in which their structures integrated with the fabric of the city, set Vender and Asnago’s approach apart from their contemporaries.
Asnago and Vender explored the applications of a similar streamlined design sensibility in the creation of their furniture designs. Often relying on the simplified support of the X and other geometrical motives, Asnago and Vender paired the use of wide areas of diverse materials and textures in combination with large empty spaces that would allow to experience the presence of these materials and textures. When wood and fabrics were used, they took special care of the shapes of the wood joints and the use of discrete welt treatments.
Beyond architectural practice, Vender upheld an enduring commitment to teaching. In the late 1920s, Vender offered private lessons in architecture and taught design courses, which he continued to do into the 1940s.
Vender continued to collaborate with Asnago until 1971, when Asnago’s declining health brought an end to his design career. Vender carried forth without Asnago, teaming up instead with his son, Mario, and design colleague Mario Moganti. Vender died in September 1986. In the closing years of the 20th century, the design work of Vender and Asnago was compiled into a retrospective monograph, Asnago e Vender: l’astrazione quotidiana: architetture e progetti 1925–1970 (Skira, 1998), designed to celebrate their accomplishments and contributions to the architectural field.
Last updated: June 20, 2019
For additional information on Claudio Vender, please visit the following:
“Claudio Vender.” Lombardia Beni Culturali.
“Mario Asnago & Claudio Vender.” Pallucco.
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