Ludovico Magistretti was born in Milan on October 6, 1920. He comes from a family of architects for generations: his great-grandfather Gaetano Besia built the Royal College of Noble Maidens in Milan; his father, Pier Giulio Magistretti, has participated in the design of ' Arengario in Piazza del Duomo. Vico attended the Parini and enrolled in the fall of 1939, at the Faculty of Architecture of the Regio Politecnico di Milano
In 1943, during his Military Service, to avoid being deported to Germany, he moves from Italy to Switzerland, where he studied and the Champ Universitaire Italien in Lausanne.
During his stay he meets Ernesto Nathan Rogers, founder of the studio B.B.P.R.
In 1945, he returned to Milan where he graduated in architecture at the Polytechnic, and immediately begins his professional activity in the fields of architecture, town planning and industrial design.
The first recognition of his work came in 1948, when he won the Gran Premio at the 8th Triennale. After that came almost forty years of activity with other prizes and awards in recognition of Magistretti’s work across various sectors all over the world.
He gave lessons and Lectures in many faculties of architecture and schools of design in Italy and abroad, from Milan to New York, from Paris to London, a city which he is particularly devoted, and an “Honoury Fellow” of the Royal College of arts since 1983.
Between 1949-1959 he collaborates with Mario Tedeschi and participates in the RIMA shows alongside with Castiglioni, Zanuso, Gardella and Albini and others.
In the 1960’s, he began working with exceptional producers such as Artemide, Cassina and Oluce, creating objects that will remain for them “classics” of contemporary production.
For Cassina the best known are the sofa Maralunga (1973 golden Compass award in 1979), the sofa Sindbad (1981) and the chair Porch (1983).
For Artemide he designs a series of lamps, including Mania (1963), Dalù (1969), Chimera (1969), the famous Eclipse (1966 Compasso d'Oro 1967), Tethys (1970) and Hang Man (1972). Among the items of furniture, the tables after Demetrius (1966), designed the chair Selene (1969), which, with the Panton Chair and Universal Joe Colombo , contends the primacy of the first plastic chair in the world.
Magistretti remains art director for Oluce for many years, impressing in the production company an unmistakable trace. Among his masterpieces, recognized icons in the world, the lamps: Snow (1974), Sonora (1976), especially Atoll (1977 Compasso d'Oro 1979), Pascal (1979), and Kuta (1980).
The collaboration with Kartell finally gives birth to another industrial chair - Maui (1996) - with a single plastic shell, which, for the international success he achieved, it has nothing to envy to the previous Selene chair.
In 1997, the Milan Furniture Fair is dedicating to Vico Magistretti a monographic exhibition, alongside that of Gio Ponti , curated by Vanni Pasca. Dell'allestimento designers Achille Castiglioni with Ferruccio Laviani.
It is a couple of years before the Golden Compass Award for Lifetime Achievement (1994).
Furniture, lamps and other objects that he designed may be found all over the world and the most important design museums have given exhibitions in his honour and kept examples of his work in their permanent collections.