Italian modernist, artist, and designer Enzo Mari, who is considered as one of the fathers of the “Made in Italy” brands for high-quality Italian products, died Monday in Milan at the age of 88.
Mari, the subject of a tribute to his career that spanned more than 60 years at the Milan Triennale, had collaborated with many of the most famous names in Italian design, including iconic lighting designer Artemide, colorful houseware and kitchen-device maker Alessi, and famed furniture creators Danese and Zanotta.
Mari’s philosophy as a designer was to make a statement: “Design is design if it communicates knowledge,” he was fond of saying.
He also favored a style free of unnecessary frills.
“Low cost constitutes a safe perimeter for the quality of the design, if for no other reason, because it forces the designer to eliminate any foolish ideas he might get,” he said.
Last year, according to media reports, Mari’s design was part of an attention-grabbing collection from Zanotta featured at the Design Shanghai 2019 Fair, with Zanotta noting that the collection also made stops at high-end shops in other cities in China.
Earlier this month, Italy’s National Statistics Institute reported that China was one of the fastest-growing markets for “Made in Italy” products.
Italian media featured many tributes to Mari, including that of Milan Triennale president Stefano Boeri, which said, “Goodbye, Enzo. You leave us like a giant.” It was Boeri who announced Mari’s passing via social media.