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Massimo Vignelli explains his 1972 New York Subway map and the controversy it caused

Interview with Massimo Vignelli

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Massimo Vignelli Venini Pendant Lamp

 

Materials: Hand blown crystal Murano glass. Clear blue on the outside, white on the inside (incamiciato).

Cord Length: 80 cm / 31.49”

Height: 28 cm / 11.02”

Width: ∅ 24 cm / 9.44”

Electricity: 1 light bulb E27, 1 x 75 watt maximum, 110/220 volt.
Any type of light bulb can be used, but preferably a white/opaque light bulb.

Period: 1950s, 1960s – Mid-Century Modern.

Designer: Massimo Vignelli (1931-2014).

Manufacturer: Venini, Murano, Italy.

Other versions: Made in several colours: red, blue, yellow, gray, green…

This hand blown blue pendant lamp was designed in the late 1950s, early in Massimo Vignelli’s career, when he lived in Venice. The lamp is made in blue and white glass by Venini, one of the most outstanding art glass companies on the Venetian island of Murano. None of these lamps are identical and are all handmade.

Massimo Vignelli

Born in Milan, Italy, Massimo Vignelli was one of the greatest graphic designers of the 20th century. His most famous and controversial design was his 1972 subway map of New York which replaced geographical accuracy with geometric clarity.

Massimo Vignelli: “If you can design one thing, you can design everything”.

Venini

Paolo Venini (1895-1959), a Milanese lawyer, and Giacomo Cappellin (1887-1968), a Venetian antique dealer, founded Cappellin Venini & Co in 1921. Painter Vittorio Zecchin (1887-1948) became the artistic director. After a few years the company was split in two and the company Vetri Soffiati Muranesi Venini & Co was founded. Napoleone Martinuzzi became the new artistic director. Martinuzzi brought innovation with the “pulegoso” glass. It is characterized by thousands of air bubbles. Carlo Scarpa and Paolo Venini presented some other new techniques, such as Battuti (Battuto), Granulari, Murrine and Tessuti.

Designers that worked for Venini are: Carlo Scarpa, Gio Ponti, Eugene Barman, Ken Scott, Banfi, Belgiojoso, Peressuti and Rogers, Fulvio Bianconi, Tobia Scarpa (son of Carlo. Toni Zuccheri, Tapio Wirkkala, Owe Thorssen, Brigitta Karlsson, Tina Aufiero, Gae Aulenti, Ettore Sottssass. Mario Bellini, Timo Sarpaneva, Fulvio Bianconi, Elena Cutolo, Giorgio Vigna. Emmanuel Babled, Rodolfo Dordoni, Monica Guggisberg, Alessandro Mendini, Philip Baldwin and many others.

The company still exists and they make the most beautiful glass art. Off course they have a distinguished shop on the San Marco Square (Piazza San Marco) in Venice. A must see when you visit the town.

Vetro Doublé: an object made of two layers of glass normally of two different colours.

Incamiciato: overlay lattimo glass (= milky looking glass) with a layer of transparent coloured glass. It is the alternative for vetro doublé.