Mario Bellini is internationally renowned as an Architect and Designer. He has received the Golden Compass Award eight times, and other prestigious architecture awards including the Medaglia d’oro awarded by the President of the Italian Republic for his contribution to furthering design and architecture in the world (2004) and the Ambrogino d’oro for civic merit awarded by the City of Milan (2011)
Bellini started his career in 1961 as the designer at the Department store “La Rinascente”, where he remained until 1963, when he was hired as a consultant for the company Olivetti.
Olivetti allowed Bellini great freedom to create his own language of machine design, one of the emerging needs of post-war design. While there, he was responsible for the terminals, tele printers, machine supports and typewriters. He produced a "continuous, flexible, rubber-skin keyboard" for his popular "Divisummal" calculator. Other successful products were the "GA 45 Pop" automatic record player for Minerva (1969) and the "TCV 500" video display terminal and "TC 800" cassette deck for Yamaha (1975). Bellini reversed his hard interior/soft exterior formula of industrial design for his piece at the MoMA's 1972 exhibition on Italian design. Here, Bellini was represented by his "Kar-a-Sutra," made in collaboration with Cassina, Citroën and Pirelli. The formal, bus-like structure had an open interior filled with couches and cushions for a reclined and relaxed ride. Bellini also worked as a design consultant at Renault in the late seventies.
Bellini's early chairs designed for C & B Italia and for Cassina are elegant examples of cushioned armchairs and sofas. His "Amanta" chair (1966) is a simple, L-shaped foam cushion over a fiberglass frame. His later "Cab" chair and sofa (1976, 1982) had removable leather coverings that zipped around the frame. The clay models he created for his designs translate directly into soft, pliable formal elements. His series of rolling, swivel office chairs designed for Vitra were close forefathers to the office chairs mass-produced today. These chairs, put into production in the late 1970's were: "Figura," "Persona," "Imago," "Onda," "Summa" and "Forma."
Bellini supplemented his career by teaching at the College of Industrial Design in Venice, the Applied Art College in Vienna and at the Domus Academy in Milan. He also had his own office, called Studio Bellini, in Milan. He has given talks in many of the world’s greatest cultural centres and was the editor of the magazine Domus from 1985 to 1991. He has 25 of his works in the permanent design collection of the New York Museum of modern art, which dedicated a personal retrospective to him in 1987.
He has held countless art, designs and architecture exhibitions over the years, both in Italy and abroad. Since the 1980’s, dedicating himself almost entirely to architecture, the manifold projects he has designed include the Portello Trade Fair district in Milan, the Villa Erba Exhibition Centre in Como, the Tokyo Design Centre in Japan, The Natuzzi America headquarters in the United States, the Essen Expo Centre in Germany, The National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, the headquarters of the Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt, the Verona Forum Complex, the City History Museum in Bologna, The Department of Islamic Art at the Louvre in Paris, and the new Milan Convention Centre, the largest in Europe.
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