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Enzo Mari exhibition promises to mesmerise (F&F members join us at the preview for free)

Enzo Mari exhibition promises to mesmerise (F&F members join us at the preview for free)

Calling all design enthusiasts and connoisseurs of creativity! Prepare to be captivated by the UK’s imminent arrival of the Enzo Mari exhibition, which will showcase a titan among Italian designers whose indelible mark has resonated across the globe.

Brace yourselves for an exclusive rendezvous with Mari’s masterpieces at the prestigious Design Museum in London, commencing March 29th. But here’s the kicker: Film and Furniture Backstage members are cordially invited to the preview on March 27th, granting unprecedented access (first come first serve) before the grand unveiling to the public.

If you’re not yet part of our esteemed Film and Furniture community, fret not. Seize the opportunity to join us and secure your invitation. Time is of the essence – sign up now to claim your spot among the privileged few.

And that’s not all, Front Row members and Backstage members can also enter our forthcoming giveaway to win tickets to see the exhibition during the full period of it’s display.

Enzo Mari. Photo by Ramak Fazel
Enzo Mari. Photo by Ramak Fazel

Enzo Mari‘s name may ring a bell, but his designs speak volumes. From the beautifully stylised apple and pear posters which appear in Almodovar’s cinematic canvases to the minimalist calendars defining modernist aesthetics, Mari’s creations have transcended mere objects to become symbols of inspiration for generations of creatives around the world.

What to expect at the Enzo Mari exhibition

Let’s delve into what awaits you within this landmark exhibition. The display brings together hundreds of projects spanning six decades of Enzo Mari’s illustrious career – from groundbreaking furniture designs to children’s books and games, product and graphic design, and thought-provoking installations. It’s a testament to Mari’s unwavering commitment to pushing the boundaries of design and igniting the imagination.

As you navigate through Mari’s visionary universe, you’ll encounter a curated selection of works by contemporary designers paying homage to his enduring legacy. It’s a convergence of past and present with artists including Rirkrit Tiravanija and Virgil Abloh.

Mari in the movies

almodovar-broken-embraces-furniture
Two 637 Utrecht Armchair‘s by Gerrit Rietveld and Uno, La Mela screenprint by Enzo Mari in Broken Embraces

Mari’s work has seen a few cinematic cameos – his iconic designs often crop up in Pedro Almodovar movies, given that the Spanish director and screenwriter, and his long time collaborator, production designer Antxón Gómez, have a penchant for Italian design.

The beautifully simple two-colour screen-printed poster, Uno, La Mela (a red apple) designed by Mari in 1963, is part of the Nature Series (Serie della Natura). It makes a star appearance in the film Broken Embraces.

Mallo's kitchen in Pain and Glory featuring the Due, La Pera (green pear) poster by Enzo Mari
Mallo’s kitchen in Pain and Glory featuring the Due, La Pera (green pear) poster by Enzo Mari

Due, La Pera (a green pear), another example of Mari’s bold, graphic interpretations of an iconic form, can be seen Mallo’s apartment in Pain and Glory. Almodóvar’s 21st movie deals with the struggles of ageing film Director Salvador Mallo (Antonio Banderas). Mallo’s apartment in the film is based on Almodóvar’s own Milan residence.

Quattro, la Pantera (a panther), Quattordici, la Rana (a frog) and Due Oche Grigie (two grey geese) are other classic designs in this series. You can buy official silk screen prints of most of these artworks here.

Calendars by Enzo Mari
Calendars by Enzo Mari

The Perpetual Wall Calendar, designed by Mari in 1963 has long been a favourite amongst designers.

Setting the stage

Interestingly, Mari studied stage design and fine art. In his early 20s, Mari enrolled at the Brera Academy of Fine Art, where he studied painting and sculpture, but soon found himself unsatisfied. He then moved on to study stage design, where he honed his technical drawing skills and developed his research into visual perception, experimenting with colour, volume, form and depth.

Mari designed and won awards for his sets for operas by Puccini and Calderón de la Barca.

A polymath with strong principals

Not only one of the 20th century’s most significant designers, Mari was also an artist, teacher, theorist, and more – a polymath whose insatiable curiosity transcended the confines of one discipline, whether it be furniture, exhibition making, product design, graphic design or artistic installations.

His advocacy for sustainability and his unwavering belief in the transformative power of play stand as testaments to his visionary spirit, resonating with relevance in our tumultuous times.

Lo Zoo di Enzo by Nanda Vigo. 2020 © Triennale Milano. Photo Gianluca Di Ioia
Lo Zoo di Enzo by Nanda Vigo. 2020 © Triennale Milano. Photo Gianluca Di Ioia

Mari was also vocal of design as a political process and amongst his many writings and critiques, in 1974 he published Autoprogettazione (Self-design), a set of general rules to create cheap, durable and high-quality furniture by using nails and raw wood boards.

  • Autoprogettazione book by Enzo Mari

    Autoprogettazione book by Enzo Mari

    Designer: Enzo Mari

    Autoprogettazione by Enzo Mari is a project for making easy-to-assemble furniture using standard pre cut rough boards and nails. This elementary technique teaches us to look at present production with a critical eye.

    Shop Now
 

In summary:

What? The Enzo Mari exhibition, curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist with Francesca Giacomelli
Where? The Design Museum, 224-238 Kensington High St, London W8 6AG
When? Free preview for Film and Furniture Backstage members: 27th March 2024. The exhibition is open 29 March to 8 September 2024

Join us at the preview

Film and Furniture Backstage members will be invited to join us at the preview of the Enzo Mari exhibition, usually a privilege of high profile press only, and all forthcoming major exhibitions at the Design Museum throughout 2024 including Barbie®: The Exhibition and The World of Tim Burton.
Become a Backstage member to be invited to previews >

Win Tickets

Backstage and Front Row members will also have the chance to WIN tickets to the Enzo Mari exhibition and and all forthcoming major exhibitions at the Design Museum throughout 2024 including Barbie®: The Exhibition and The World of Tim Burton.
Become a Backstage or Front Row member to enter ticket giveaways

 

This feature is FREE to Classic members.

To access in-depth features, video interviews, tickets to F&F events, giveaway draws, invitations to pre-release film screenings, major exhibitions and more, become a Front Row or Backstage member today!

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