Renowned artist, designer, and inventor Bruno Munari was a towering figure in the 20th century creative landscape. His innumerable contributions to the fields of art, design, and learning continue to make an impact even to the present day.
Inventive and Creative Graphic Design
Page-throughs by Edicion de Arte of three of Munari's artist’s books (An Unreadable Quadrat Print, Libro Illeggibile N.Y. 1, and Le Forchette di Munari) display his unique ability to turn even the most mundane of objects into a wondrous and fun experience.
Books by Bruno Munari
Speak Italian: The Fine Art of the Gesture, 1963
The Circus in the Mist, 1969
Design as Art, 1970
From Afar it is an Island, 1972
Everyone can make things complicated. Very few are capable of making things simple.
Bruno Munari 1907–1998
A prolific artist, writer, inventor, architect, illustrator, and titan of design, Bruno Munari is known as one of the greatest protagonists of 20th century art, design, and graphics. Born in Milan, he spent much of his childhood and teenage years in the quaint and rural town of Badia Polesine; this exposure to both city and country life would later become fundamental in the development of his aesthetic. In 1927 at the age of 20, Munari became involved with the Futurist movement, embarking on an over seven-decade-long career which would leave an indelible imprint on the design world.
The Futurists’ focus on progress and modernity was fertile ground for the young Munari, who desired to develop new modes of visual communication. During his association with the Futurist movement, he worked as a graphic designer and an art director, began designing children’s books, and developed his Macchina aerea (Aerial Machine) and Macchine inutili (Useless Machines) both of which exhibited his unique ability to blur the lines between machines, art, and utility. Following World War II, Munari broke with the Futurists due to their proto-Fascist leanings and in 1948 he founded Movimento Arte Concreta (M.A.C.), the Italian movement for concrete art, with Gillo Dorfles, Gianni Monnet and Atanasio Soldati. Over the next decade, prior to the disbanding of M.A.C. in 1958, Munari explored kinetic art, experimented with polarized light, produced several films, and designed countless objects for Italian design companies such as Danese Milano.
Munari’s relentless experimentation with not just materials, but also technologies, would continue through the remaining decades of his career. The list of his creations is astonishing in its variety and ranges from experimental photocopies to ashtrays, televisions, lamps, toys, and foldable sculptures. His toys and books, in particular, reflected the natural world he experienced in his youth and can be seen in his Zizì monkey for Pigomma (1952), his illustrated catalog of fantastical animals, Zoo (1963), and several animal-centric children’s books (Cappuccetto Verde and Cappuccetto Giallo, 1972; Il furbo colibrì, 1977). Regardless of the form his creativity took, Munari’s radical vision and joie de vivre are readily apparent.
In addition to these myriad pursuits, Munari was a gifted educator and taught and lectured at several schools such as the Carpenter Center for Visual Arts at Harvard University and the ISIA in Faenza, Italy. He curated, organised, and participated in countless exhibitions (including nine editions of the Venice Biennale) and received numerous awards and recognitions, among them the Compasso d’Oro (1954, 1955, and 1979), the Marconi award from the Brera Academy (1992), and the Andersen award for best child author (1974). Munari has been the subject of three retrospective exhibitions and his work can be found in important public and private collections worldwide.
Interview with Bruno Munari
The Creativity of Design
Art shall not be separated from life: things that are good to look at, and bad to be used, should not exist.
Auction Results Bruno Munari