Design Icon: Carlo De Carli

Read the story of Carlo De Carli, an influential designer and architect that became throughout the years one of the most prominent academic voices of the Modernism movement in Milan. From wooden armchairs to brass bed frames, discover his iconic furniture pieces edited today by La Permanente Mobili Cantù.

​Carlo De Carli was born in Milan in 1910 from a family with ties to the Garda Lake, whose natural landscape and cultural history became a distinct influence in his vision later in life. After graduating in Architecture at the Politecnico in Milan in 1934, he joined Gio Ponti in his Milanese studio: this partnership deeply shaped De Carli's language as an architect and designer, and signified the beginning of a influential career in the field.

De Carli concentrated the majority of his career in designing buildings and finishing pieces from the postwar period in Italy to the late 1970s, continuosly creating a unique vision and interpretation of the industry: from the importance of artisanal production to the need of constant research, he became an illustrious professor and prominent essayest.

As an architect, ​De Carli's first important building dates back to 1947-1949, the House for Offices and Homes in via dei Giardini 7 in Milan, in whose basement he will build the unique Sant'Erasmo Theater after a few years with the collaboration of the architect Antonio Carminati. The subsequent series of Milanese buildings were conceived based on his peculiar vision of architecture that focused on the Primary Space.

The Primary Space follows the original principle of architecture of finding the meaning and welcoming of human life in every space. At first, the Primary Space has no physical properties or figures or other formal determinations, and is all in the attention to the "preciousness" of the human person, in a stringent relationship between architecture and ethics, and between architecture and politics, which overcomes the simple functional utility to interpret its meaning and translate it into a built work.

This is reflected in his practice as a furniture designer as well, with each element being stripped of unnecessary details while mainating an essential yet beautiful figure, such as in the ​Golden Compass Chair in Natural and the ​Table with Glass Center in Walnut, both edited today by La Permanente Mobili Cantù.

​What makes Carlo De Carli such an iconic figure in the architecture and design of the XX century is his being first and foremost an educator and professor, with an academic career that began in 1962 where he took the Architecture faculty chair that once belonged to his colleague Gio Ponti. His continuous elaborations about theory, methodology, historical criticism and design are still studied today and remain incredibly contemporary, shaping the new generation of architects and designer globally.

Architecture is about designing the window so that air and light can enter, so that looking out in the morning, opening it, and closing it in the evening, is nothing and everything.

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