Design, bravely operating within the world of production and consumption, has gained its new found supremacy through being the only planning entity able to transform reality.
Visions of Italian Design
For more than 20 years Ugo Alfano Casati has been bringing fresh and interesting modern and contemporary Italian design to market. From rare and custom works by Italy’s most notable architects to classic forms and more recent limited edition works from the most radical and forward thinking minds, Casati’s vision of Italian Design is one of quality, beauty and historical significance.
An Italian himself, Casati grew up in Milan. He worked for Alessi and Bodum in Paris before relocating to Chicago where he opened Casati Gallery to bring Italian design to the American market. He focused on Italian designs of the post-war era to present day, developing relationships with artists, designers, foundations and archives, adding valuable context and introducing new scholarship in the field alongside his elegant offerings.
In 2007, Casati and Wright teamed together to create a book dedicated to the designs of Angelo Mangiarotti. The award-winning publication, featured full-color images and was published in English and Italian introducing the innovative designer to the broader market.
Casati’s interest in fine craftsmanship and originality soon grew to include emerging design and he began to produce editions by makers whose aesthetics complimented his Italian sensibility: Jonathan Nesci, Philippe Nigro, among others.
This special curated auction celebrates Casati Gallery and marks the beginning of Casati Projects, a new phase for Ugo Alfano Casati who endeavors to bring renewed energy and experience to the field of Italian design through curatorial and consulting services for discerning collectors and institutions across the globe.
Andrea Branzi is a lauded designer, architect and artist, known for being a co-founder of Domus Academy, the first international post-graduate program for design, a founding member of the avant-garde design group Archizoom Associati, as well as a member of both Studio Alchimia and Memphis. His current design practice continues the radical considerations of these postmodern movements, incorporating contemporary modes of assemblage, irreverence, subtlety and sensitivity to materials.
Born in 1938 in Florence, Branzi studied at the Florence School of Architecture, graduating in 1966—the same year he co-founded Archizoom. Along with another radical design collective, Superstudio, Archizoom created poetic, bratty and pop-inflected furniture and objects for the company Poltronova from 1966 to 1973. Studio Alchimia, which Branzi joined in 1976, continued this experimental, boundary-pushing approach, using it to challenge traditions of industrial production and historicism. Upon joining Memphis in 1980, Branzi created structural, moody furniture that typified the more high-minded, austere design aesthetics of the decade (in contrast to the busy and bright look usually associated with Memphis).
Branzi established his own design studio in 1982, turning his attention to urban planning, architecture and interior design. He has worked with such companies as Vitra, Cassina, Sevres, Artemide and Alessi. In 1983 he helped establish Domus Academy. His studio’s first signature design was the Animali Domestici furniture line, made up of one-of-a-kind and limited edition pieces that combined natural materials with recognizable modern design forms to create surrealistic mash-ups that supersedes the modernist insistence of orderliness and functionalism.
In 2008, Branzi was designated an Honorary Royal Designer in the United Kingdom and his designs are held in such prominent collections as the Victoria and Albert Museum, London and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. He has been awarded the prestigious Compass d’Oro three times and most recently headed the School of Interior Design, Milan, before retiring in 2009. Branzi continues to live and work in Milan.