Andrea Branzi

Italian architect and designer Andrea Branzi, who was one of the founders of influential studio Archizoom Associati and the Domus Academy, has died aged 84.

Over a six-decade career, Branzi created numerous avant-garde designs along with his work as an educator, first at the Domus Academy and then at the School of Interior Design at the Polytechnic University of Milan.

In 2022 he won the Italian Architecture Prize’s lifetime achievement award, having also won several awards throughout his career including three Compasso d’Oro in 1979, 1987 and 1995.

Mies chair by Archizoom Associati
Andrea Branzi designed the Mies chair as part of Archizoom Associati

His death was marked by Italian architect and president of the Triennale Milano Stefano Boeri, who called the architect “a visionary artist”.

“Andrea Branzi has left us,” wrote Boeri on Instagram. “He was a giant of radical thinking on human spaces, a sophisticated historian of Italian design, a visionary artist capable of ironically inhabiting other universes and parallel worlds.”

“He leaves us a powerful and generative legacy of works and texts. He left us thinking and dreaming. Hi Andrea, keep dreaming about us,” he continued.

Andrea Branzi
Branzi also designed the Superonda chair

Born in 1938, Branzi graduated from the Florence School of Architecture in 1966. The same year he formed the avant-garde architecture studio Archizoom Associati with Gilberto Corretti, Paolo Deganello and Massimo Morozzi.

A lead proponent of the Radical Design movement, the studio collaborated with Superstudio to create the influential Superarchitettura exhibition to showcase its ideals.

One of the studio’s most significant designs was a proposal for an experimental city that was stripped back to only essential elements and could be extended indefinitely, called the No-Stop City. One of the plans for the city is held in the collection of Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Along with theoretical architecture, the studio created a series of seating in the 1960s that aimed to challenge how furniture is used. These included the Superonda sofa in 1966 along with the Safari sofa and Mies chair in 1968, still produced today by Poltronova.

Archizoom Associati disbanded in 1974 and Branzi went on to become a member of Studio Alchimia and collaborate with the Memphis Group in the 1980s.

In the mid 1980s, he had a marked change in style moving away from his previous post-modern influenced designs. A key work that demonstrated this shift was the Animali Domestici series created with his wife Nicoletta Morozzi.

The series of chairs were formed from industrial-looking grey bases topped with armrests and seat backs made from untreated logs and branches.

Lampe Foglia
He also designed the Lampe Foglia

In his extensive design career, Branzi created pieces for numerous brands including a toothpick dispenser and bottle opener for Alessi.

In recent years he created designs for the Friedman Benda and Carpenters Workshop galleries. Other collaborators include Arezzo, Nilufar, and Nero Design Gallery.

Branzi was also a significant educator who co-founded the Domus Academy post-graduate school of design in 1982. He would act as cultural director at the institution for a decade. He went on to be chairman of the School of Interior Design at the Polytechnic University of Milan until 2009.

Earlier this year Italian architect and designer Rodolfo Dordoni, who was art director for Italian design brands including Artemide, Cappellini and Minotti, passed away at the age of 69.

The images are courtesy of Triennial Milano.

The post “Giant of radical thinking” Andrea Branzi dies aged 84 appeared first on Dezeen.

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