Design Icon: Ugo La Pietra

Ugo La Pietra, eclectic Italian architect, designer and artist who rediscovered the value of craftsmanship at a time when almost everyone was celebrating the “magnificent progress” brought by industrial mass production. Explore the emblematic pieces he designed for ceramist Ceramica Gatti and cabinet maker Morelato.

Ugo La Pietra Portrait. Photo by Jacopo Benassi
Clarone, Clarinetto and Oboe Vases by Ugo La Pietra

​Italian architect, deisgner and essayist, Ugo La Pietra was born in 1938 in Bussi sul Tirino, Pescara, Italy. He graduated in Architecture at the Politecnico di Milano in 1964.

During the 1960s Ugo La Pietra lived a period rich of experimental activities, during this period he made significant contributions to radical design, developing original theories, such as the “De-balancing System”.

In 1962 Ugo La Pietra founded the renowned Gruppo del Cenobio together with Agostino Ferrari, Ettore Sordini, Angelo Verga, Arturo Vermi and the poet Alberto Lùcia; with the objective of communicating experimental art, expression of a free and cultured mindset.

In 1973, Ugo La Pietra also founded Global Tools, the first group of “Architects, Designers and Radical Artists” together with ​Ettore Sottsass and ​Andrea Branzi.

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I let myself be influenced by external phenomena, by society, by people’s behavior both in the urban and in the domestic side. A path that starts from the outside is an endless discovery.

Ugo La Pietra design
Ceramic vases designed by Ugo La Pietra

He was editor-in-chief and director in several magazines and reviews, including: In , Inpiù, Progettare in più, Brera Flash, Fascicolo Area, Abitare il tempo. Editor of the Domus magazine in the 1980s, and of D'Artigianato tra Arte e Design.

Ugo La Pietra's unique vision and talent, has been awarded with numerous awards, including: the first prize at the Nancy Film Festival in 1975, the Compasso d’Oro award in 1979 and in 2016, 2° place at the Competition for the ex-Manifattura Tabacchi Urban Park in Bologna in 1985.

Last but not least Ugo La Pietra has curated numerous exhibitions in world famous museums, including: the Milan Triennale, the Venice Biennale, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Lyon, the FRAC Museum of Orlèans, the Museum of Ceramics of Faenza and the Ragghianti Foundation of Lucca. Ugo La Pietra also exhibited his pieces at MoMA, New York at the Milan Trade Fair among others.

"Progetto Disequilibrante" Exhibition by Ugo La Pietra, Milan Triennale, 2014
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