THE 50’S IN ITALY
A WAY OF THINKING, A STYLE BECOMING A COLLECTION

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January 27, 2016

 

It’s a decade of big transformations for the Italian Society, the one which starts in 1951; when the epoch of the real reconstruction ends, it gives space to new and original productive impetus. Italy, in war time just some years before, projects itself in a dimension of such a working vivacity to be able to lay the foundations of that process which will result in the “economical Miracle” of the first 60’s.

The large scale retail trade is given to birth and by the spreading of the household appliances and of other convenience goods, a new affluence concept has been discovered.
A good number of arts spreads and reaches a stylistic excellence during those years. The Italian Design of that period is, up today, one of the most famous and recognized worldwide, the beginning of the Contemporary.

 

During the 50’s, the pages of the specialized magazines carefully follow the debate on the industrial Design, creativity and mass production. From studies on the coordination among shapes, colours and new ways of living, new interests and a contamination with the working world arise.
It is precisely in that decade, that the Company Enrico Cassina, at that time in Milan, produces five new models of door handles, three of them C069, C070 and C066 designed by Architect Sergio Asti, so appreciated also overseas, that a copy of the model C066 is still displayed at the MoMa in New York. The three models designed by Architect Asti together with models C079 and C068 have been rediscovered from the archive, which is today in the Company and included in the catalogue, after a long stylistic research and an innovative mechanical examination.

The project started thanks to the interest of Architect Elisabetta Terragni in some of our models, a documentary reconnaissance that soon became an operative research of the materials in the archive, by starting  from the drawings of the Patent Office to the publications on the magazines of that period and to the photographic documents, by having the wish to unveil the “rediscovered handles”  with eyes and fingers. The whole Company, starting from the technical department to a group of students of the New York City University finally , who studied the physiology of movement (UMD – Urban Movement Design), has been involved in this research, besides Architect Terragni and her architectural practice in Como.

The ergonomics was a fundamental aspect for the choice of the shapes of the models in the Fifties Collection. A discipline, born during the last world War for the research and development of standard to be used to military equipments, is a topic which interests the human being since he built the first tools, natural was its application to objects of daily life (such as handles).

 

In this way Architect Elisabetta Terragni recounts this collaboration among workshop, architectural practice, hall and departments in the article “L’energia delle cose ritrovate” published on the magazine Abitare http://www.abitare.it/it/ricerca/pubblicazioni/2012/11/07/novembre-527/?refresh_ce-cp 

 “The Enrico Cassina Company has guarded the prototypes and the different models jealously. What we have done is that of rebuilding a story backwards, starting from the objects: door-handles with specific qualities, technical, ergonomic, tactile”. […] What makes many of these handles so contemporary is their corporeal nature. But there is more to say here. These objects are the product of a close relationship with the workshop as a site of research. They are the result of high levels of technical skill. […] And it is no coincidence that today it is once again thanks to collaboration with a mechanical engineering shop (OMP Porro)”

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