In 1957, Brothers Ennio, Virgillio and Marcello Fazioli started home and office furniture design, manufacturing and sales company MIM (Mobili Italian Moderni). In just a few years, MIM would go on to become a design and cultural beacon in Rome, and expand throughout the rest of the country.
In 1958 a shop displaying the MIM products was opened. Ico and Luisa Parisi, together with De Carli, Frattini, Ponti and Munari were all leading players in the new enterprise.
It was Parisi’s (The Company’s art director), undertakings and his independent thinking that went beyond the norms of architecture. It became the driving force of a working and business idea that was not only about innovation, but also a way to combine arts with design.
The MIM plant on Via Aurelia, employed workers who would learn their trade thanks to the company’s spirit of experimentation. The Faziolo brothers were backed by the craftsmanship of their maternal grandfather, who made chestnut barrels in the Lazio town of Canepina, and also that of their father in his joinery workshop. Their remarkable creativity and ability was always driven by the Dynamism and desire for Innovation. They wanted to design and produce modern furniture with functionality and Italian characteristics, whilst still keeping alive the ancient construction traditions and methods.
MIM’s philosophy was based on the belief that working on furniture is a way of contributing to the wellbeing and improvement of the community. They worked alongside various architects, professional figures and the MIM Technical office and workers. The pieces produced featured the use of fine wood and metal components. Some of its successful pieces were the “Rio small extendable table” and the “Urio living room suite” designed by Parisi. Other pieces include Chairs by Renato Venturi and armchairs by Giuseppe Zammerini.
By 1959 MIM had expanded to opening shops in Naples and Bologna and Munari created the trademark for their business.
Then in 1962 an encounter between Leonardo Sinisgalli and Ennio lead to an important phase for the company, with the creation of promotional campaigns targeting architects, tradespeople and a cultured, middle-class customer base. These initiatives initially focused on issues linked to production and branched off into topical, general interests and cultural matters. These initiatives included the publication of MIM studies. Founded and edited by Sinisgali, and published from 1964-1966.Sinisgali’s previous experience , and the work he had done for “Pivelli”, and “Civilta delle Macchine” magazines, allowed him to mix literature, art, architecture, criticism, theory, cultural news and history in an attempt to provide a new look whilst still keeping with the evolution of modernity and technological industrial culture.
One of the studies was on Bruno Munari titled “The Barrel and the Violin. Design Collection” magazine (La Botte e il violino). The aim was made clear by the title, and involved a quest to reject the abstract models and programmes in favour of transverse cultural aspects that are not always evident in culture as a whole. Some of the topics explored were “man and the home”, “man and the city”, and “man and his habitat”. Sinisgali wrote... “A good furniture maker never uses nails. In violins and barrels there are no nails... The essence of furniture is that of violins and barrels.”
The magazine had a particular refined editorial format with the likes of Argan, Battisti, Menna, Praz and Assunto amongst some of its contributors. It contained articles and photography advertising MIM, and described the work with Carlo Scarpa and Vittoria Gregotti on prototypes for chairs.
A new MIM store was created 1964 by Luigi Pellegrini, who joined the team of architects and thanks to the works of Sinisgalli, it became a meeting place for architects, artists, writers, critics and intellects. They would meet up there for book launches, conferences and Exhibitions.
From the mid 1960’s MIM began an expansion process. It opened premises in Milan, then in other Italian Cities and subsequently in Brussels. It continued to expand the business with the acquisition of two new plants: one for wood in Sacile and the other for metalworking in Turin. They focused on production of office furniture, and they kept up the habit of working with architects and designers such as the likes of Zanuso, Medini and Sottsass.
1985 the Rome factory was closed and they continued production out of the Sacile Factory.