Joe Cesare Colombo  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Joe Cesare Colombo (July 30, 1930 in Milan - July 30, 1971 in Milan) was an Italian industrial designer. Cesare "Joe" Colombo was until 1949 educated at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera in Milano as a painter and studied afterwards until 1954 architecture at the Politecnico di Milano.

In 1951 he joined the Movimento Nucleare, which was just founded by Sergio Dangelo and Enrico Baj. The following four years Colombo was active as a painter and sculptor of the abstract expressionism and exhibited his works with other members in Milano, Torino, Verviers, Venice and Brussels.

In 1955 Colombo joined the Art Concret Group, but gave up his painting to promote his Design Career. Before he cooperated at an exhibition for the X. Triennale di Milano of 1954 and documentated the Ceramic Designs of an international meeting in Albisola. For his presentation Colombo created for example three exterior seatings which were combined with a "shrinelike" presentation of TVs.

After his father's death in 1959, Colombo had to take over the family company which produced electric appliances and started to with new construction and production technologies.

In 1962 Colombo opened his own Design-Office, which was specialized on roomconception- and architecture projects, mostly for lodges and skiing hotels. These early designs show his interrest in very sculptural forms. In 1964 Colombo received the IN-Arch prize for his roomconception of an hotel in Sardinia (1962-1964)

Together with his brother Gianni, Colombo developed the idea to create prismatic lamps like for example the lamp Acrillia(1962). His first design for Kartell was the chair No.4801 (1963-1967) which consisted of three assembled plywood elements. The flewing elements of his chair were a forecast to his later plastic designs, like for example the chair universale No.4860 (1965-1967), which was the first seating for adults made of ABS.

Moreover, Colombo produced innovative designs for furniture, lamps, glas, doorknobs, pipes, alarm clocks and wristwatches. He created the professional camera Trisystem (1969), the airconditioner Candy (1970), serving plates for Alitalia (1970) as well as an ergonomic and engined printing table.

Since the beginning of his career Colombo was at most interested in living systems. His early modular container Combi-Centre of 1963 is an example for that. This preference for furniture systems leaded to designs like Additional Living System (1967-1968) and the chairs Tube (1969-1970) and Multi (1970), which were able to be assemled in various positions to get a great number of sitting positions. They reflect Colombo's main goal, variability.

Nevertheless, his futuristic designs were integrated micro-living-worlds. Therefore belonged for example his Visiona-Livingroom of the future, which was exhibited at he Visiona-Exhibition of 1969. This room consisted of "Barbella-like" space interiors where furniture became structure elements and reverse. Traditional furniture was replaced by functional elements like for example the sitting cubes Night-Cell and Central-Living as well as the Kitchen-Box, to create a dynamic, multifunctional livingroom.

For his own apartment Colombo designed the units Roto-living and Cabriolet-Bed (both 1969), followed by Total Furnishing Unit, which was presented at the exhibition Italy: The Domestic Landscape at the Museum of Modern Art, New York in 1972. It should represent a complete Living-machine, which consisted of kitchen, wardrobe, bathroom and sleeping accommodation, complete on only 28 square meters.

Colombo designed products for O-Luce, Kartell, Bieffe, Alessi, Flexform and Boffi, and received 1967 and 1968 prizes of ADI (Associazione per il Designo Industriale) as well as the Compasso d'Oro in 1970.

His great career was tragically stopped by his early death in the age of 41.



Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Joe Cesare Colombo" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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