In 2017, Massimo Iosa Ghini was awarded the coveted “Ambassador of Italian Design,”—a fitting distinction in recognition of 30+ years of contributions to Italian, yes, but also international architecture and design, urban development, retail planning, public transport, and of course product design.
Signor Ghini has been known since 1985 for his alliance with Ettore Sottsass and the Memphis Group, as well as the Bolidist Movement. There’s no doubt that his work speaks for itself, but these affiliations help to shed some light on his prevailing aesthetic: a penchant for innovation; a unifying vision that blends art, architecture, and product design; and a forward-thinking perspective that embraces streamlined, organic, futuristic forms.
Speaking of Memphis, discussion of Ghini should reference the sublime, future-forward Juliette Chair he authored with the Memphis Group. Released in 1987, Juliette features an orthodox materials palette of enameled steel, cording, and plastic tubing, a tantalizing agglomeration that manifests as a kinetic piece. Its aesthetic is versatile, referencing Marcel Breuer while also celebrating the late 80s with a kind-of Terminator aesthetic.
The Drop Fireplace for Antrax is another piece that smacks of a certain era while showing considerable staying power. It’s also cinematic: silky, suspended, vegetal, it resembles a mercury suspension, dripping down from on-high to coalesce in this squat and curious—yet beguiling—form with a red-hot hearth in the entrails of its aperture.
The Shape Armchair is also vintage Ghini. Slightly off-kilter, asynchronous yet sublimely streamlined, Shape has a perpelexing shape that re-defines our idea of balance. Bedecked in red leather, Shape is somehow sexy and severe at once. To my eye, it’s a kind of Cubist take on Marilyn Monroe’s iconic kiss.
The Aria Lamp for Leucos is a lovely hand-blown pendant that’s airy and ethereal, alighting ever-so-softly to light the environs below. Again, there’s a futuristic aspect here, as, like Drop, Aria evokes extraterrestrial intelligence. The dimmable LED bulb encased within the precious glass oscillates from dark to bright—humming with luminescent light.
Ksenia is conservative for Ghini. A simple seating family simply executed in beech. The rounded forms of the wrap-around back and the waterfall edge seat give Ksenia visual appeal and enhanced ergonomics. Upholstered in fabric or leather.
The Frame Elegance Kitchen for Snaidero is an ambitious undertaking that’s sleek and modern and rife with subtle functionality, including hidden pulls, a fully recessed cooktop, island sink, and a floating surface slab. Finish options abound: worktops in marble, granite, wood, solid surface, quartz, and stainless steel.
Massimo Iosa Ghini has been the recipient of the Chicago Athenaeum’s Good Design Award, the Red Dot Award, the iF Product Design Award, the Roscoe Award, the IAI Green Design Global Award, and the IAI Awards in Shanghai, China. Both the Triennale di Milano and the Bologna Modern Art Museum, MAMbo have dedicated exhibitions to him and his work. His architecture and commercial development projects include the Ferrari Store shops in Europe, USA, and Asia; the metro station Kröpcke in Hannover, Germany; and the Collection shopping center in Miami. Iosa Ghini Associati has offices in Bologna and Milan.