Luigi Colani  

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"The earth is round, all the heavenly bodies are round; they all move on round or elliptical orbits. This same image of circular globe-shaped mini worlds orbiting around each other follows us right down to the microcosmos. We are even aroused by round forms in species propagation related eroticism. Why should I join the straying mass who want to make everything angular? I am going to pursue Galileo Galilei's philosophy: my world is also round." — Luigi Colani.[1]

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Luigi Colani (born Lutz Colani; 2 August 1928 – 16 September 2019) was a German industrial designer.

His long career began in the 1950s when he designed cars for companies including Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Volkswagen, and BMW. In 1957, he dropped his first name Lutz using the name Luigi. In the 1960s, he began designing furniture, and as of the 1970s, he expanded in numerous areas, ranging from household items such as ballpoint pens and television sets to uniforms and trucks and entire kitchens. A striking grand piano created by Colani is manufactured and sold by the Schimmel piano company.

The prime characteristic of his designs are the rounded, organic forms, which he terms "biodynamic" or "biomorphic" and claims are ergonomically superior to traditional designs. His "kitchen satellite" from 1969 is the most prominent example of this school of thought. Many of his designs for small appliances are being mass-produced and marketed, but his larger designs have not been built, "a whole host of futuristic concepts that will have us living in pods and driving cars so flat that leg amputation is the only option."

His unconventional designs have made him famous, not only in design circles, but also to the general public. He has received numerous design awards.

Career timeline

Studied sculpture at the Akademie der Künste, Berlin (academy of fine arts).
Study of aerodynamics at Université de Paris-Sorbonne in Paris, France.
Head of New Materials project group at McDonnell-Douglas in California.
Receives the Golden Rose international prize for creation and design, in Geneva, Switzerland, for special Fiat bodywork; he is the originator of many Fiat designs in the coming years .
Colani's Alfa Romeo design is the first sports car to clock a lap of under 10 minutes at the Nürburgring; it can now be seen in the Martini Rosso Museum.
Catamaran racing success in Hawaii
The world's first monocoque sports car: BMW 700
World's first kit car in series: 1700 cars, Colani GT
World-wide success with furniture design: Asko, Fritz-Hansen, Cor, Kusch+Co.
Sports coupe, IAA Frankfurt
Headquarters with major design team at Harkotten Castle near Sassenberg, Germany. Enormous success, work and exhibitions worldwide for many companies of major repute.
Design of Eifelland Formula One car. First contacts with Japanese companies.
First Far East study trip; Japan recognizes Colani's potential. Invitation by five companies to establish a Colani Design Center Japan. Rosenthal's Teapot Drop designed by Colani in Cooper-Hewitt Museum in N.Y.
Fanliner, the first plastic sports airplane with a Wankel rotary engine constructed
Revolutionary trucks, aircraft, car and ship studies at exhibitions world-wide
Fuel economy world record set by the Colani 2CV (based on the French Citroën 2CV, 1.7 litres for 100 km with the original 2CV engine and chassis.
Relocation to Japan
Professor in Japan/Tokyo
No. 1 industrial designer in Japan; Otaru exhibition, 60 m large shell
Colani Robot Theatre most-attended at the Tokyo Tsukuba Expo. Pontresina propeller-driven airplane unveiled, having two contra-rotating coaxial pusher propellers with scimitar blades mounted in the tail. The propellers, also known as "centripetal supersonic propellers", were a new design idea. The plane was a design study and is not airworthy.
Receives the Golden Camera Award for the Canon T90. Colani motorcycle world record in Italy. Foundation of the Colani Design Bern, Switzerland.
Colani exhibition at Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. Car design for Mazda, Japan. Pen design for Pelikan A.G., Germany
Toulouse and Bremen branch offices. Professor h.c. of the Hochschule für Gestaltung, Bremen. Preparation on a widescale basis for record speed on land, water and air and economy world records in Utah, USA
Sony headphones by Colani placed in Museum of Modern Art, New York. Formation of the company Colani Trading AG in Zürich, Switzerland
Exhibition in Centre International de l'Automobile car museum in Paris; Presentation of the new Swissair uniforms designed by Colani
Creation of optical frames and jewelry collection; Colani Ferrari sets record at Bonneville Speedway in Utah
Computer mouse design for Sicos; creation of the Colani cosmetics collection; Colani signs a contract with European computer chain Vobis of Germany
Presentation of the Colani field glasses; Shopping center exposition through Switzerland
Colani Vobis Highscreen computer gets award for the Computer of the Year 1994. Cooperation with Carl Zeiss Jena
Cologne, Germany opens new head office of Colani's design works. Designs for major companies in the construction and building industry. China's ambassador invited Colani for future projects to Shanghai, China, and he gets a professor title of the most famous University of Shanghai, Tongji
Office furniture designs for Grahl, Michigan USA. Architecture project presentation for Shanghai, China, called Bio-City
Created a new piano for famous piano builder Wilhelm Schimmel. Start of the DESIGN-show through more than 30 shopping centers in Germany
Start of a bank terminal design project with one of the world's leading computer manufacturers. Design for a new microscope and photo camera at the Colani Shanghai office. Water bottle design for Carolinen-Brunnen, Germany.
Presentation of a new "shower" (bathroom-combination)-generation for the German company Dusar. Furniture project with Kusch & Co., Germany. A world leader in porcelain, Rosenthal, Germany, plans to promote a special edition of the famous "Drop" teapot designed by Colani.
"Human-City" architecture model by MW Energie AG in Mannheim, Germany. Colani optical frames presentation at optical shows in Milan, Paris and Las Vegas.
Design for a new microscope and photo camera (for Seagull) at the Colani Shanghai office. Six exhibitions through shopping malls (ECE-group) throughout Germany. COLANI-Calendar for Castrol-Germany.
Leading Swiss mineral-water company Valser (acquired by Coca-Cola in 2002) presents new bottle design by Colani. Start of another exhibition-tour through over 25 shopping malls (until 2004) by ECE-Group. Opening of a world-leading museum of design, Pinakothek, in Munich, Germany (including several Colani designs). Spitzer-Silo presents new Colani truck at IAA in Hannover, Germany.
Uniforms designed for the police Hamburg/Germany. Designed the tt-62-plane for;— over 40 units of this business jet sold already! Futuristic car design: Speedster shark (see "Visions")
Guest Speaker and Presenter at World Economic Forum WEF in Davos, Switzerland. Porcelain giftware creations (Cappuccino, Espresso mugs).

"Life on Board" project

See also

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