Italian Design: Study the Classics

Alessi may be Italy's best-known name, but these four iconic pieces defined a generation.

Photos courtesy of respective manufacturers

Alessi may be Italy's best-known name, but these four iconic pieces defined a generation.

Up 5 & 6 Lounge Chair and Ottoman, 1969 (pictured, top)

Gaetano Pesce

The chair's feminine form leaps out, but it's the production method—made from polyurethane foam, it was compressed and vacuum-sealed in flat boxes—that secured its place in history.

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Photos courtesy of respective manufacturers

Boby 3 Portable Storage System, 1969

Joe Colombo

Perhaps the most practical design icon ever made, this beloved home-office organizer—with swing-out trays and wheels—provided highly customized storage space and is still in production.

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Photos courtesy of respective manufacturers

Arco Lamp, 1962

Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni

The quintessential Swinging Sixties fixture, this 79-pound lamp reinvented interior lighting with its curved neck and elegant aluminum shade grounded in a Carrara-marble base.

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Photos courtesy of respective manufacturers

Valentine Portable Typewriter, 1969

Ettore Sottsass and Perry King

Despite being expensive and commercially unsuccessful, this Olivetti typewriter is most memorable for its bright-red Pop Art casing—highly unusual for traditional office equipment.

—Monica Khemsurov

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