Highly esteemed for his researched and controlled approach to materials, Italian architect, sculptor, and designer Angelo Mangiarotti was born in Milan in 1921. Having graduated from the Politecnico di Milano with an architecture degree in 1948, he moved to the United States in 1953. There, he held a visiting professorship at Chicago’s Illinois Institute of Technology and befriended famous architects Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959), Walter Gropius (1883-1969), Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969), and Konrad Wachsmann (1901-1980)—all of whom influenced his work immensely.
Mangiarotti returned to Milan in 1955 and opened an architectural firm with Italian architect Bruno Morasutti (1920-2008). The pair designed industrial, residential, and cultural institutions, such as the Via Cantore Skyscraper (1955) in Genova and the Mater Misericordiae Church (1957) in Milan. The partnership dissolved in 1960.
From 1963 to 1990, Mangiarotti held lecturing positions at a number of distinguished design and architecture schools in Italy and abroad. In 1989, he founded Mangiarotti & Associates, based in Tokyo. He later served as the Creative Director at Colle Cristalleria from 1989 to 1992.
Beyond his many architectural feats, Mangiarotti’s portfolio includes a wide array of creative projects—ranging from sculptures, like Cono-cielo (1987), to products, like his Fratelli Brambilla Ashtrays (1968)—that demonstrate his masterfully modern handling of traditional materials like glass and marble. His designs were produced by the most progressive brands of his day, including Artemide, Bernini, Cappellini, Knoll, and, most famously Skipper, which produced the Incas Table (1978), Estral Shelving System (1981), Chicago Chair (1983), and Central Table (1985), among others. He’s also famous for his collection of Murano glass-link Giogali Lighting (ca. 1967) produced by Vistosi.
Over his the course of his career, Mangiarotti won numerous awards in both design and architecture, such as the Domus Formica Award (1956), the Prix Européen de la Construction Métallique (1979), a Career Compasso d’Oro (1994), and the Marble Architectural Award (1994, 2007). His work has been featured in many exhibitions worldwide, including the Centre Pompidou in Paris, Triennale Design Museum in Milan, and Gallery MA in Tokyo.
In 2012, Mangiarotti passed away in Milan at the age of 91. His daughter Anna Mangiarotti (b. 1950) is a professor in architecture technology at the Politecnico and works closely with Vistosi to manufacture her father’s designs as well as her own. Since 2010, Agape Casa has owned the license to produce a number of Mangiarotti’s most beloved designs.
* Images courtesy of Studio Mangiarotti, Agape Casa, Artemide, and Vistosi