Studio A.R.D.I.T.I

Florence, Italy

Italian design group Studio A.R.D.I.T.I. was founded in Florence in 1968 by Duccio Trassinelli (b. 1945). Members included Alessandro Mazzoni, Delle Stelle, Elisabetta Scheggi Merlini, and, for a short time, Gianni Gamberini.

The design collective staked their claim in the anti-design movement when they launched their publication “Manifesto Studio A.R.D.I.T.I.” during the International Conference on Environmental Structures chaired by Umberto Eco in 1970 in Rimini, Italy. Written as political satire, the manifesto advocated against the capitalist and consumerist tendencies that dominated the design industry in the postwar era.

Although less known than other radical design collectives of the postmodern era, such as Memphis and Alchimia, Studio A.R.D.I.T.I. developed a series of influential design objects during the 1970s that were informed by a new philosophy of use. Such designs include the Memoria Armchair for Cassina (1972), which features a hand-operated valve that releases air, allowing the chair to mold to the sitter's body. The armchair was exhibited the same year at the Eurodomus and awarded Design of the Month by Bolaffi Casa in 1973.

Studio A.R.D.I.T.I. was among the first to experiment with low-voltage lights, which they used to play with perceptions of surface and space. Notable lighting designs for Sormani include the Ponte Lamp (1971), the Prismar Lamp (1972), and the BT Series (1972), which comprises the double-paneled BT1 Wall Light, the square-based BT2 Table Lamp, and the BT4 Floor Lamp.

The group disbanded in 1977, and each member went on to pursue separate careers. Many of Studio A.R.D.I.T.I.’s designs are included in permanent museum collections around the world, such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, and the Vitra Design Museum in Germany.