Xerjoff Magazine

Enzo Mari, designing for the world

Writer

A great designer, artist and smart theorist, Enzo Mari passes away just when Milan Triennale celebrates him with a great exhibition.

He passes away just when Milan Triennale is paying homage to his work with a great retrospective exhibition curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist with Francesca Giacomelli. A perfect timing, you would think, for a man who all his life has avoided celebrations, that worldliness and glamour that has increasingly often pervaded his professional field. Internationally known and admired designer, artist and theorist, Enzo Mari, over a 60-year long career has received five Compasso d’oro awards and has created over 1500 objects mainly made by Italian companies. The exhibition path of the Milan’s event “Enzo Mari curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist with Francesca Giacomelli” develops in a historical section and a series of contributions of international artists and designers such as Tacita Dean, Mimmo Jodice, Adrian Paci , Rirkrit Tiravanija, Danh Vō and Nanda Vigo, invited to pay homage to Mari through site-specific installations and new, specially commissioned works.

Particularly interesting is the contribution of Nanda Vigo who in the new work, designed for the exhibition before his death, reinterpreted using light two of Mari’s most famous works, the “6 animals” and the “6 fish”. A series of video interviews made by Hans Ulrich Obrist completes the exhibition showing the ethical tension that has accompanied Mari’s entire life together with his design ability to give shape to the essential. Of the many reflections, often critical and caustic, on his own profession that Enzo Mari left us, we would like to remember one that sounds like an invitation firstly addressed to his colleagues, but that we could actually address to all those involved in big or small projects: “Be human, design for the world”.

Above: Bambù, Vases Collection, Danese, 1969