Enzo Mari (1932-) is considered one of the most intellectually provocative Italian designers of the late 20th century, known for products, furniture and puzzles. Unlike postmodern contemporaries such as Ettore Sottsass, Mari adhered strictly to rational design – “constructed in a way that corresponds entirely to the purpose or function”. A firm believer in Communist ideology, Mari infused his low-cost designs with multiple functions and customization meant to engage and empower the user. In 1971 he imbued this philosophy into the Box chair for Castelli, a self-assembly chair consisting of an injection-moulded polypropylene seat and collapsible tubular metal frame which came apart to fit into a box – just as his puzzles interlocked into a rectangle.
Seen as somewhat staid against the exuberance of Memphis, his commitment to rationalism stood the test of time, gaining him work with Muji and Thonet at the end of the century when pared back design made a comeback. The box chair appears in the Museum of Modern Art, New York. In 2000, The RSA, London presented him with the award “HonRDI” (Honorary Royal Designer for Industry). Only 200 people may hold this title at any time. This box chair is in a particularly rare green colourway, with Castelli stamped underside. Besides minor surface wear it is in excellent condition, all feet intact.
W43 D44 H82 Seat H44.5cm