30th July: Birth and day of death from Joe Colombo

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Article from the 2011-07-29

Cesare Colombo, better known as Joe Colombo, was one of the most successful Italian designers of the 20th century. Curious: he passed by the same date he was born. Cesare “Joe” Colombo was born the 30th of July 1930 in Milan. He passed by unexpected the 30th of July of 1971 because of a heart attack.

Because of his birthday and day of death the 30th of July, we look back to his unforgettable career and life.

After his studies at the academy of arts Brera and following architecture studies at the Politecnica, Colombo took the electric-devices business of his parents in 1959. He began experimenting with new construction, manufacturing methods and materials here. Colombo opened his own design studio in Milan in 1962, room-design and architecture projects were the focus of the studio’s work.

Joe Colombo was soon one of the pioneers on the flexibility and multifunctional industrial design field and did soon focus on the (then) new material: plastic. The Stackable Chair 4860 (4867 Chair Today) that he designed for the company Kartell was therefore the first seat for adults, that was completely made out of injection-molding ABS plastic. Also innovative and a classic now, is the plastic roll container “Boby”, also known as “Joe Colombo’s Trolley” and produced by B-Line today.

Joe Colombo fast made his name with his visionary and utopic designs, embossing the design of his time. Cesare “Joe” Colombo has been admired by his colleagues already while he still lived because of his creative potential and more still because of his enormous productivity. His hard-working life brought him diverse awards, besides the respect of the experts world:

  • 1964 he won 3 medails at the XIII Triennial in Milan
  • 1967 he won the “Golden Compass” Compasso d’Oro
  • 1968 he received his first “Design International Award” in Chicago
  • 1969 already three objects he designed were part of the continuous collection of the MoMa

Colombo wasn’t only a great designer, but was furthermore considered a passionate communicator and self-exposer. He was constantly dressed elegantly and hardly renounced the pipe in his mouth. He offered the perfect image of a “Design-Dandy” to his audience, enraptured by the possibilities of new technologies and the improvement of the human day by day.

Find further information on our themepage about Cesare “Joe” Colombo.

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