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Joe Colombo

Joe Colombo

*  1930 Mailand/Italien
† 1971 Mailand

Joe Colombo is a versatile Italian painter, sculptor, architect, and industrial designer. Joe Colombo (real name: Cesare Colombo) studied painting and sculptor in Milan at the Accademia di Belle Arte di Brera until 1949 before transferring to Milan Polytechnic to study architecture, which he did until 1954. Until 1958 Joe Colombo worked solely as an Abstract Expressionist painter and sculptor. From 1959, after his father's death, Joe Colombo took over the family electrical appliance business, notably introducing new methods of production and materials. In 1962 Joe Colombo opened an interior decoration and industrial design practice of his own in Milan. In 1962 Joe Colombo collaborated with his brother Gianni on developing "Acrilica" (for O-Luce), a table lamp. This innovative lamp consists of an elongated foot with the source of light, to which a transparent, C-shaped sheet of acrylic resin, bent upward, is attached to conduct the light from the foot. Here Joe Colombo has utilized both the thermoplastic and optical properties of acrylic resin to create an extremely elegant lamp. In 1963/64 Joe Colombo designed the "No. 4801" armchair for Kartell, consisting entirely of three plywood elements inserted into one another. The "Additional Living System" Joe Colombo designed in 1967/68 can be used as seat furniture or used as a couch or bed; its elements can be attached with clamps for the purpose desired. Similarly multifunctional is the convertible Joe Colombo "Tube Chair" (1969/70), made of four upholstered pieces of tubing of varying diameter. Linked with clamps, they form seat furniture which can be nested to save space for transport or storage. The 1963 Joe Colombo "Elda" armchair (for Comfort) has become a 1960s design icon. Also formative for the 1960s and early 1970s were Joe Colombo's futuristic microcosms for living, which he presented at the 1969 exhibition "Visiona". Viewing traditional living areas as functional units, Joe Colombo designed them as a "Night Cell", "Central Living", and Kitchen Box". In 1969 Joe Colombo designed the "Roto Living" and "Cabriolet Bed" in his own flat and, in 1971, a "Total Furnishing Unit". This last was also shown at "Italy: The New Domestic Landscape", the exhibition mounted by the New York Museum of Modern Art.