Enzo Mari's Autoprogettazione

Enzo Mari's Autoprogettazione

Jeanine Brennan
Aug 22, 2008

We knew Enzo Mari from his simple fruit prints and interlocking wooden Animali puzzle, but didn't know about his furniture until recently. In 1974, he came out with 19 designs for wooden furniture entitled Autoprogettazione. Autoprogettazione (or "self design") was Mari's collection of designs for furniture you could make yourself with just a hammer using inexpensive, off-the-shelf lumber. More after the jump.

We've always loved Enzo Mari's low-key, sincere approach to design-- recently he has been designing chairs for Muji, who shares a similar aesthetic. We read that in the 1950's Mari was noticing that mass-produced furniture was starting to change people's tastes away from quality and craftsmanship, so he created simple designs to help reconnect people with how things were made. During his 1974 exhibition he gave out a free catalogue with detailed instructions for making these basic, easy-to-assemble furniture pieces using standardized wooden planks and nails. Anyone (except for factories and dealers) was encouraged to make the furniture, or to make varations on them, and send him a picture.

Mari's Autoprogettazione made plans for nine tables, three chairs, a bench, a bookshelf, a wardrobe, and four beds. We especially like the long dining room table (top), the "F".

With current design focusing on locally-made, handmade furniture, DIY, simplicity and collaboration, we think his Autoprogettazione and the thought behind the collection fits in just as well today as over 30 years ago when he designed them.


You can buy a reprint of Enzo Mari's Autoprogettazione catalog at Unicahome for $27


Pics: greg.org, artinfo.com, chelsea art galleries



-Jeanine

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