Kartell - The Art of Transparencies

Published By: Alba Nasoni 4 weeks ago

When it comes to interior design there is no way a human being can resist beauty. People can turn up their noses in front of expensive perfume and label it as useless, or they can roll their eyes when seeing a couture dress and say “who is gonna wear that?!”; but try to bring a design-sceptical in a fancy furniture showroom and they will give up their dreadful attitude immediately. Everyone has a price and for some reason, people give furniture a lot more importance than other objects. Even if the logic is not crystal clear, furniture is crucial because it becomes part of our house, and therefore, our identity. We love being surrounded by beautiful things and today we are here to celebrate one of the greatest brands in the business: Kartell.

Exactly 70 years ago in Milan, chemical engineer Giulio Castelli founded Kartell. Mr Castelli was deeply passionate about plastic and thought that could be used to make furniture. It might seem no big deal today, after all, we are surrounded by plastic all the time and we have absolutely no idea how to deal with it, but in 1949 giving plastic a whole new use happened to be a very prosperous idea. When the design expertise unhinged the mere idea of plastic as a cheap material, everything changed in the domestic landscape and Kartell was the very first brand to be responsible for this revolution. 

Undisputed leaders of transparency, Kartell revealed all their pieces are made from a single polycarbonate transparent piece which, thanks to injection moulding technology, magically comes to life. There is no one else who can do this as they do, so even if there are fake reproductions pretty much everywhere, you will always know an original Kartell.

The brand has been awarded an uncountable amount of times so they had to find a place where to store all their trophies! For this reason, in 1999, for their 50th anniversary, they opened a Kartell Museum, one of the richest corporate museums in Italy. With its 2.500 square metres and more than one thousand pieces exposed, the museum tells the story of a pioneer who became a worldwide famous designer because he was simply a curious man.

Being international is definitely one of the ongoing features of Kartell. Many designers and celebrities have collaborated with the firm: Philippe Starck (father of the iconic chair “Louis Ghost”), Ron Arad, Patricia Urquiola, Tokujin Yoshioka, Bob Wilson and Lenny Kravitz. But being international didn’t make Kartell forget their roots which lie right in the heart of what “made in Italy” stands for. 

Communication is the true essence of this brand. Being an innovator, always thinking ahead of time, catching visions of lifestyle while always being halfway between furnishings and art. Fashionable and most definitely a real trendsetter. I must be honest with you and say that when I received the famous Kartell lamp “Bourgie” as a gift I almost cried. So if this doesn't say that design features a big emotional side, I don’t know what does.

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