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Vico Magistretti

Italian, 1920-2006

As one of the founding fathers of modern Italian design, prolific architect and industrial designer Ludovico Magistretti (known by his nickname Vico) was guided by his philosophy, “There is no excuse for bad design.” His architectural projects are widely revered, and an ingenious meld of form and function can be found in his stylish and deceptively simple table lamps, sofas, armchairs and other mid-century furnishings.

Born in Milan, Magistretti followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather (both architects) to study architecture at the Polytechnic University of Milan. At the outbreak of World War II, he fled to Switzerland, and it was there he met his role model and mentor, renowned humanist architect Ernesto Nathan Rogers. Magistretti was inspired by Rogers’s vision to revive postwar Italy, and they collaborated on several reconstruction projects. Among Magistretti’s first architectural designs is a “poetic” round church, which he created for the QT8, an experimental Milanese neighborhood.

When Magistretti returned to Milan in 1945, he worked at his father’s architectural firm. It wasn’t until the early 1950s that he expanded his talents into design while working with furniture artisans.

In the 1960s, Magistretti began his 30-year working relationship with famed entrepreneur Cesare Cassina of the Cassina furniture manufacturing company. In their design approach, the two men shared a vision of the relationship between modernity and tradition and enjoyed a close bond (Magistretti designed Cassina’s luxurious villa in 1965). However, their friendship was not without contention.

Legend has it that upon seeing the prototype for Magistretti’s Maralunga sofa, Cassina hated it so much that he punched it, breaking the back of the sofa, which crumpled into itself.

“Right, great, it looks perfect to me like that,” an unfazed Magistretti allegedly responded, and the Maralunga’s slumped, adjustable-height backrest was born. Incidentally, the Maralunga sofa won Italy’s Compasso d’Oro award as did his Eclisse lamp for Artemide and his Atollo lamp for Oluce.

Magistretti died in 2006, but his designs live on in galleries, museums and private residences and offices around the world.

Find a range of vintage Vico Magistretti furniture and lighting on 1stDibs.

Average Sold Price
$2,749
Styles
Materials
Iconic Designs from Vico Magistretti
Explore timeless pieces that have earned their place in history.
Vico Magistretti Maralunga Sofa
Vico Magistretti Maralunga Sofa
Vico Magistretti Atollo Lamp
Vico Magistretti Atollo Lamp
Vico Magistretti Eclisse Table Lamp
Vico Magistretti Eclisse Table Lamp
Vico Magistretti Selene Chair
Vico Magistretti Selene Chair
Scrittarello, Contemporary and Classic Desk
By Vico Magistretti
Located in New York, US
A perfect balance of form and function, the desk designed by Achille Castiglioni is a contemporary classic for the home office. The two side shelves, footrest and slightly rounded co...
Category

2010s Italian Modern Vico Magistretti

Materials

Beech

  • Scrittarello, Contemporary and Classic Desk
  • Scrittarello, Contemporary and Classic Desk
  • Scrittarello, Contemporary and Classic Desk
  • Scrittarello, Contemporary and Classic Desk
H 28.35 in. W 50.79 in. D 25.6 in.
Selene Chairs by Vico Magistretti for Artemide, 12 Pcs
By Vico Magistretti, Artemide
Located in Renens, CH
The Selene chair was designed by Vico Magistretti during the 1960s, and has been featured in the MoMA New York. Origination: Italy, 1960s. Produced by Artemide. Condition: Vint...
Category

1960s Italian Mid-Century Modern Vintage Vico Magistretti

Materials

Fiberglass

Vintage Italian Selene Chair in Orange Plastic, by Vico Magistretti for Artemide
By Artemide, Vico Magistretti
Located in Milan, IT
Originally designed in 1966, the Selene chair was one of the projects Magistretti himself was most proud of. As he stated in different interviews, he was extremely satisfied on how t...
Category

1970s Italian Modern Vintage Vico Magistretti

Materials

Plastic

Carimate Chairs by Vico Magistretti, Set of Three, 1960s
By Vico Magistretti, Mario Luigi Comi
Located in Renens, CH
Set of three original Carimate chairs designed by Vico Magistretti, produced by F.li Mario Luigi Comi during the 1960s. The chairs were originally aniline dyed in green, and due ...
Category

1960s Italian Mid-Century Modern Vintage Vico Magistretti

Materials

Rush, Beech

Set of 3 Orange Demetrio 45 by Vico Magistretti for Artemide, 1970s
By Vico Magistretti, Artemide
Located in Ixelles, BE
Set of 3 orange demetrio 45 by Vico Magistretti for Artemide, 1970s. Designer - Vico Magistretti. Producer - Artemide. Model - Demetrio 45 staking tables. Design Period - Seventi...
Category

1970s Italian Post-Modern Vintage Vico Magistretti

Materials

Plastic

Pair of Vintage 'Maralunga' Two-Seater Sofas, Vico Magistretti for Cassina, 1970
By Vico Magistretti, Cassina
Located in Zagreb, HR
The ultimate comfort and mid century icon, 1970s original vintage 'Maralunga' two-seater sofa, designed by Vico Magistretti for Cassina. A rare and early production produced during ...
Category

1970s Italian Mid-Century Modern Vintage Vico Magistretti

Materials

Cotton

Vico Magistretti Artemide Midcentury "Clinio" Italian Brass Glass Sconces, 1960s
By Vico Magistretti, Artemide
Located in Modena, IT
Italian very large Mid-Century Modern design sconces wall lamps model Clinio designed by Vico Magistretti for Artemide with opaline glass diffusers and brass structure, 1960s Plea...
Category

Mid-20th Century Italian Mid-Century Modern Vico Magistretti

Materials

Brass

Vico Magistretti Black Leather Veranda Sofa for Cassina, circa 1980
By Vico Magistretti, Cassina
Located in Costa Mesa, CA
Vico Magistretti Black Leather Veranda sofa for Cassina, circa 1980. ( Pair Available ).
Category

20th Century Italian Modern Vico Magistretti

Materials

Leather, Wood

Browse all Furniture from Vico Magistretti
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More Vico Magistretti Designs
Vico Magistretti Maralunga Sofa
Vico Magistretti Maralunga Sofa
Average Price
$6,472
Number Available
17
Vico Magistretti Maralunga Sofa
By Vico Magistretti
Materials
Animal Skin, Leather, Fabric
Styles
Mid Century Modern
While origin stories behind the world’s timeless designs vary widely, the story of the Maralunga sofa is one of the best in design lore: As legend has it, when Cassina founder Cesare Cassina first saw the prototype for the piece in the mid-1970s by Italian furniture designer Vico Magistretti (1920–2006), he was so disgusted by it that he punched it, breaking the back of the sofa, which crumbled over itself . . . into the shape the piece would eventually take. (“Right, great, it looks perfect ...
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Vico Magistretti Atollo Lamp
Vico Magistretti Atollo Lamp
Average Price
$2,494
Number Available
15
Vico Magistretti Atollo Lamp
By Vico Magistretti
Materials
Metal, Glass, Blown Glass
Styles
Mid Century Modern
For such a revered piece of lighting design, the Atollo lamp is impressively simple, comprising just three forms: a cylinder, a cone and a dome, stacked so neatly atop one another that the dome appears to hover above the fixture on its own. This sculptural table lamp, an outwardly geometric tour de force from postwar Italy that produces warm diffused light, was created by prolific industrial designer and architect Vico Magistretti (1920–2006). Born in Milan to a family of architects — both h...
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Vico Magistretti Eclisse Table Lamp
Vico Magistretti Eclisse Table Lamp
Average Price
$363
Number Available
12
Vico Magistretti Eclisse Table Lamp
By Vico Magistretti
Materials
Metal, Plastic
Styles
Mid Century Modern
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Vico Magistretti Selene Chair
Vico Magistretti Selene Chair
Average Price
$1,767
Number Available
11
Vico Magistretti Selene Chair
By Vico Magistretti
Materials
Plastic
Styles
Mid Century Modern
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Vico Magistretti furniture for sale on 1stDibs

Vico Magistretti furniture are available for sale on 1stDibs. These distinctive objects are frequently made of metal and designed with extraordinary care. In our Vico Magistretti collection, there are many options to choose from, although brown editions of this piece are particularly popular. We have 238 vintage editions of these items in stock, while there are also 102 modern editions to choose from. Many original furniture by Vico Magistretti were created in Europe during the 20th century in the Mid-Century Modern style. If you’re looking for additional options, many customers also consider furniture by Vistosi, Joe Colombo and Carlo Nason. The prices for Vico Magistretti furniture can vary depending on size, time period and other attributes. 1stDibs's price starts at US$105 and tops out at US$26,488, while pieces like these can sell for US$2,463.
Questions About Vico Magistretti
  • 1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022
    The Carimate chair for Cassina is one of the most celebrated pieces of Vico Magistretti but this designer is also well known for the Eclipse Table Lamp, Selene Stacking Chair, Chimera Lamp and more. He is seen as one of Italy’s most influential industrial designers, furniture designers and architects. Shop a collection of Magistretti furniture from some of the world’s top sellers on 1stDibs.

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