Condiment Architecture by Aldo Cibic. Cibic's a condiment-holder collection was inspired by the Italian countryside. The Cypress-tree holds toothpicks, the houses are salt and pepper shakers and the smokestack is a vase.
Condiment Architecture by Aldo Cibic. Cibic's a condiment-holder collection was inspired by the Italian countryside. The Cypress-tree holds toothpicks, the houses are salt and pepper shakers and the smokestack is a vase.

Archive sketches inspire MoMA’s Italian range

Newly realised designs by Sottsass, Castiglioni and co. go on sale at the museum’s Design Store next month

Collecting classic Italian designer goods is not an inexpensive pastime; a 1959 vase by Ettore Sottsass sold for €31,900 or $34,600 at the Piasa auction house in Paris earlier this month.

However, New York’s Museum of Modern Art has reached back into the archives of 32 notable Italian designers to bring an beautiful, and affordable range of tabletop products to the museum’s Design Store early next month.

The collection, Design Memorabilia: de Gustibus, marks the 2015 World's Fair in Milan and its theme of food. None of the products have ever been manufactured before, and have either been specially produced for the collection by its respective designers, or realised from archival sketches.

 

Hands Up bowl by Tobia Scarpa
Hands Up bowl by Tobia Scarpa

Some pieces, such as the Hands Up bowl by Tobia Scarpa, son of Carlo Scarpa, have been only altered slightly. The bowl was originally fashioned from silver in 1998, and now has been reproduced in white epoxy-coated steel.

However, other works offer greater insight into the archives of notable Italian design stars. We are particularly taken with the Squared Circle bowl from Ettore Sottsass. These were based on a 1958 sketch, and were inspired by the traffic lights Sottsass saw during his first trip to New York.

 

Squared Circle bowls by Ettore Sottsass
Squared Circle bowls by Ettore Sottsass

Fellow Memphis designer, Aldo Cibic, drew his inspiration from the Italian countryside, for his Condiment Architecture range, which features salt and peppershakers, a toothpick holder, ramekins, a pitcher, and a tray.

The multicoloured Girachille by Achille Castiglioni, meanwhile, is an equally enlightening product. The tea light holder is kinetic: heat from the candle turns a propeller, which, in turn, shifts the coloured panels on the holder’s sides. A great addition to any stylish dining table and, priced at $28.00, it’s also a price-friendly way to start or add to a design collection.

 

Girachille tealight holder by Achille Castiglioni
Girachille tealight holder by Achille Castiglioni

For more on this, go here. To see some of the inspiration and archival material that enabled MoMA to release this collection, take a look at our Sottsass and Castiglioni books here. Meanwhile, for one Italian kitchen classic that never goes out out style, buy a copy of The Silver Spoon here.