"If you can design one thing, you can design everything." -Massimo Vignelli
Vignelli Associates was formed by Massimo & his wife Lella who designed furniture, home wares, clothing, & their most recognized piece of work: The New York City Subway map. They were multifaceted designers whose work revolved around functionality that kept true to the idea that less is more.
Their furniture design is fixated around geometric shapes that retain a sense of subtleness that keep the design cues intact within it's respective setting ,enhancing the room as a whole versus dominating the conversation. You also see this in Lella's clothing design that was directed for a new business attire that should have created comfort & less concentration on the human form to translate a more work centric character. Lella's jewelry design is also amongst some of the most versatile I have seen & one could picture it worn by an elegant woman in her later years or a young girl who just wants to dress up for the night.
Many didn't understand their design mantra at first. For example the detested public reception of one of their coffee mugs was downright ignorance of design, or one could even say basic physics. They create a divot within the handle for a thumb to rest comfortably as one would enjoy their espresso, but America filled their mugs to the brim at the time causing them to spill. The mug was meant for an espresso drink that was of much lesser amount, at max filling 2/3 of the cup. The company who commissioned the design ended up reconfiguring the product by blocking off the divot. To say the least Massimo was very ahead of his time and that design would very well be one to be used amongst most that frequent drinking espresso.
The couple met in college & remained together until the untimely passing of Massimo last May. What was amazing amongst their relationship, was that it never clashed amongst the work allowing it to sustain truth to their vision. Designers on their own have difficulty with this and they managed to create a cohesiveness that is rarely seen amongst the industry.
For a better understanding of their mantra & work, click on the PDF links below.
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