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Joe Colombo

Italian, 1930-1971

He died tragically young, and his career as a designer lasted little more than 10 years. But through the 1960s, Joe Colombo proved himself one of the field’s most provocative and original thinkers, and he produced a remarkably large array of innovative furniture, lighting and product designs. Even today, the creations of Joe Colombo have the power to surprise.

Cesare “Joe” Colombo was born in Milan, the son of an electrical-components manufacturer. He was a creative child — he loved to build huge structures from Meccano pieces — and in college he studied painting and sculpture before switching to architecture. In the early 1950s, Colombo made and exhibited paintings and sculptures as part of an art movement that responded to the new Nuclear Age, and futuristic thinking would inform his entire career. He took up design not long after his father fell ill in 1958, and he and his brother, Gianni, were called upon to run the family company. Colombo expanded the business to include the making of plastics — a primary material in almost all his later designs. One of his first, made in collaboration with his brother, was the Acrilica table lamp (1962), composed of a wave-shaped piece of clear acrylic resin that diffused light cast by a bulb concealed in the lamp’s metal base. A year later, Colombo produced his best-known furniture design, the Elda armchair (1963): a modernist wingback chair with a womb-like plastic frame upholstered in thick leather pads. 

Portability and adaptability were keynotes of many Colombo designs, made for a more mobile society in which people would take their living environments with them. One of his most striking pieces is the Tube chair (1969). It comprises four foam-padded plastic cylinders that fit inside one another. The components, which are held together by metal clips, can be configured in a variety of seating shapes. Tube chairs generally sell for about $9,000 in good condition; Elda chairs for about $7,000. A small Colombo design such as the plastic Boby trolley — an office organizer on wheels, designed in 1970 — is priced in the range of $700. As Colombo intended, his designs are best suited to a modern decor. As you see on 1stDibs, if your tastes run to sleek, glossy Space Age looks, the work of Joe Colombo offers you a myriad of choices.

Average Sold Price
$2,808
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Materials
Related Creators
Iconic Designs from Joe Colombo
Explore timeless pieces that have earned their place in history.
Coupé Lighting Series
Coupé Lighting Series
Spider Lamp Series
Spider Lamp Series
Boby Trolley
Boby Trolley
Elda Armchair
Elda Armchair
Set of Six Joe Colombo 'Sferico' Glass Tableware by Karakter
By Joe Colombo
Located in Barcelona, Barcelona
Glass tableware designed by Joe Colombo in 1968. Joe Colombo believed in democratic and functional design. In his lifetime he designed a wide range of different drinking glasses....
Category

2010s Danish Mid-Century Modern Joe Colombo

Materials

Glass

Joe Colombo Model #3319 'Spider' Floor Lamp in Black for Oluce
By Oluce, Joe Colombo
Located in Glendale, CA
Joe Colombo model #3319 'Spider' floor lamp in black for Oluce. Executed in black metal and chrome, this is one of the most refined Minimalist Italian designs of the midcentury and a...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Italian Mid-Century Modern Joe Colombo

Materials

Metal, Chrome, Aluminum

Kartell KD29 Desk Light Joe Colombo circa 1970 Purple
By Kartell, Joe Colombo
Located in Sydney, NSW
Classic Space Age designed table lamp by Joe Colombo for Kartell and licensed manufactured by Advance Industries, Australia. The KD29 table lamp is made entirely of plastic and ha...
Category

1970s Australian Mid-Century Modern Vintage Joe Colombo

Materials

Plastic

Joe Colombo Model 4801 Black Lacquered Plywood Chair Kartell, 1965
By Joe Colombo
Located in Chicago, IL
Joe Colombo designed the Model 4801 chair from three curved pieces bent beech plywood. Colombo’s innovative idea was to design a lounge chair that could simply slot together with no ...
Category

1960s Italian Mid-Century Modern Vintage Joe Colombo

Materials

Plywood

Joe Colombo Inside and Outside Wall and Ceiling Lamp 'Fresnel' Black by Oluce
By Oluce, Joe Colombo
Located in Barcelona, Barcelona
Wall lamp 'Fresnel' designed by Joe Colombo in 1966. Inside and outside wall ceiling lamp giving direct and diffused light. Lacquered aluminium support and Fresnel lens diffuser. Ma...
Category

2010s Italian Mid-Century Modern Joe Colombo

Materials

Aluminum

"Domo" Table Lamp by Joe Colombo
By Joe Colombo
Located in Los Angeles, CA
Domo table lamp by Joe Colombo. Current production manufactured by Karakter in Copenhagen, Denmark. Brass, also comes in a black painted aluminum, steel, adjustable shade. The Domo l...
Category

2010s Danish Mid-Century Modern Joe Colombo

Materials

Brass

Joe Colombo Spider Table Lamp for Oluce, Italy
By Joe Colombo, Oluce
Located in RHEEZERVEEN, Overijssel
This black spider lamp spreads a direct light and therefore works perfect as a desk lamp. The reflector can be tilted left and right and moved up and down. .
Category

1960s Italian Mid-Century Modern Vintage Joe Colombo

Materials

Metal

Set of Early Joe Colombo 2207 Flash Table Lamps for Oluce
By Joe Colombo, Oluce
Located in Echt, NL
Early edition 2207 flash table lamps by Joe Colombo. Manufactured by Oluce, Milan. White lacquered metal. Built in dimmer switch. If you have any questions, please feel f...
Category

20th Century Italian Mid-Century Modern Joe Colombo

Materials

Metal

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Joe Colombo Sellers

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Creators Similar to Joe Colombo

Joe Colombo furniture for sale on 1stDibs

Joe Colombo furniture is available for sale on 1stDibs. These distinctive objects are frequently made of metal and designed with extraordinary care. In our Joe Colombo collection, there are many options to choose from, although brown editions of this piece are particularly popular. 139 vintage editions of these items are in stock, while there are 136 modern editions to choose from as well. Many of the original furniture by Joe Colombo was created during the 20th century in the Mid-Century Modern style in Europe. If you are looking for additional options, many customers also consider furniture by Gino Sarfatti, Gae Aulenti and Ercole Barovier. The prices for Joe Colombo furniture can vary depending on size, time period and other attributes. Price for these items starts at $184 and tops at $20,754, while pieces like these can sell for $2,065.