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Design Icon: Michele De Lucchi

Read the story of Michele de Lucchi: an Italian designer, architect and one of the important members of Memphis design movement in 1980s. With a vision for unexpected combinations of elements, material, and technique, his furniture pieces have been considered as icons of the era. Explore Michele de Lucchi's First Chair of Memphis Milano, exemplary sculptures and unique furniture for UpGroup, Arnolfo di Cambio, Lithea and many more.

​Michele De Lucchiwith his twin brother Ottorino De Lucchi, was born in 1951 in Ferrara, in a Venetian household. His career began briefly after graduating in architecture in Florence when he became an Assistant to a design course held by one of the university's institutions, Adolfo Natalini. This is when Michele De Lucchi was introduced to the first manifestations of radical design, Cavart group, founded in 1973 in Padua, which organizes radical artistic events inside the Venetian quarries.

Gradually, Michele De Lucchi developed a strong vision and capacity for a new dimension of design and architecture, creating products on which people would be willing to invest emotionally. In the early 80s, ​Ettore Sottsass, Founding member of the Memphis Design Movement, invited De Lucchi to join ​Memphis and also encouraged him to start his own business. He simultaneously started working on a lot of design practices such as the CentroKappa, and prominently Alchimia. Sottsass was a crucial figure credited for involving Michele de Lucchi into an Italian industrial environment: Olivetti, where he designed Synthesis furniture and went on to be a Design Director from 1992 until 2002. At this point in his career, Michele De Lucchi had met a series of people who proved to be fundamental for his collaboration with Compaq, Philips, and Siemens, Vitra, where he elaborated his personal design ideologies.

Michele De Lucchi’s best-known designs for Memphis include the ​First Chair, a beautiful pastel-colored chair consisting of circles and spheres and other intriguing shapes. He also developed an international reputation for his architectural works in Japan for NTT, in Germany for Deutsche Bank, in Switzerland for Novartis, and in Italy for Enel, Olivetti, Piaggio, Poste Italiane, Telecom Italia. His contribution within the corporate environment led to an evolution of the corporate image, introducing technical and aesthetic innovation into the corporate setting.

Craft production arises out of the desire to experiment. I began the atelier as a continuation of Memphis, but artisanship is increasingly important in this digital era.

Michele De Lucchi's personal explorations have gone side-by-side with his professional projects. In 2003, the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris acquired a considerable number of his works, while the other well-known products are exhibited in important design museums in Europe, the United States, and Japan.


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