CALAMOBIO Chest of Drawers by Alessandro Mendini from the Italian manufacturer ZANOTTA (Limited Edition)

The CALAMOBIO Chest of Drawers-Commode-Dresser was designed by Alessandro Mendini (original in 1985 & re-edition in 1988) for the Italian manufacturer ZANOTTA and forms part of its “Edizioni” Collection (Limited Edition).

It comes in 9 originals numbered and signed with frame and feet in wood, polychrome inlay and handles in red anodised aluminum. Drawer interiors are in natural beech. Each series features a different color sequence of the wooden inlays placed on the right side of the cabinet.

The CALAMOBIO is a beautiful mix of Modern and Ethnic styles, reminding us specifically of American Indian patterns  and we decided to present it here as we believe it’s one of the finest examples of Alessandro Mendini’s talent (to the best of our knowledge, he keeps the 1985 original one in his Studio, so it must be close to his heart, too …).

Architect & Designer Alessandro Mendini was born in Milan in 1931. He directed the magazines Casabella, Modo and Domus. Monographs on his work and his projects with the Studio Alchimia have been published in different languages.

His focus is on objects, furniture, concept interiors, paintings, installations and architecture. International collaborations include Alessi, Philips, Cartier, Swatch and Hermès. Alessandro Mendini is a design and image consultant to many different kinds of companies, including ones in the Far East. He is an honorary member of the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem. In 1979 and 1981 he was awarded the Italian ‘Compasso d’Oro” of design; in France he carries the title of “Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres”; he is the recipient of an honorary title from the Architectural League of New York and was also awarded an honorary doctorate degree from the Milan Polytechnic. Mendini also worked as professor of design at the Universität für angewandte Kunst in Vienna.

His work is featured in many museums and private collections.

With his brother Francesco Mendini he opened Atelier Mendini in 1989, designing the Alessi factory in Omegna; the new Olympic pool in Trieste; a series of subway stops in Naples; the refurbishment of the Naples City Hall, the Byblos Art Hotel in Verona; the new Trend Group headquarters in Vicenza, Italy; a commemorative tower in Hiroshima, Japan; the Groninger Museum in Holland; a district of Lugano, Switzerland; the Madsack office building in Hanover, a commercial building in Lörrach, Germany and other buildings in Europe and the USA.

ZANOTTA was established in 1954 and is one of the recognized leaders in Italian industrial design.

Guided by the insight and wonderful entrepreneurship abilities of the founder, Aurelio Zanotta, beginning in the 1960s it won and has held the international spotlight. This was thanks to its products: emblematic for both their formal and technological innovations.

In the late 1980s Aurelio Zanotta gave the following explanation of his success. “During the 1950s and 1960s the furniture and furnishing accessories industry was bubbling over with creativity. Some firms which currently are leaders in the industrial design field and have gained international stature were sharp enough then to grasp the crux of the design and manufacturing problem. It was possible to produce both profits and culture, at the same time.”

Internationally famed architects and designers have always been called in to create the products. Some of them are: Achille Castiglioni, Gae Aulenti, Marco Zanuso, Ettore Sottsass, Joe Colombo, Alessandro Mendini, Andrea Branzi, Giuseppe Terragni, Carlo Mollino, De Pas-D’Urbino-Lomazzi, Enzo Mari, Bruno Munari, Alfredo Haberli, Werner Asslinger and Ross Lovegrove.

Today’s collection comprises these furniture types: armchairs, sofas, storage units, bookcases, chairs, tables, coffee-tables and furnishing accessories.

Diverse manufacturing technologies are employed. In harmony with the corporate philosophy aimed at R&D, they allow the advanced use of a host of materials, like metals (aluminum alloy, stainless steel, brass, bronze, etc.), plastics, glass, marble, granite, wood, fabrics and leather.

In 1989 the “Zanotta Edizioni” collection was added to the Company’s line; these furnishing objects are close to applied art. Freed from the constraints of mass-production, the collection’s articles are handmade to a great extent. By harking back to the most significant facets of Italy’s artistic craft tradition, they revive and rework disused techniques, like mosaic, inlay and painted decorations.

The pieces in the “Zanotta Edizioni” are supposed to be selected and loved, as one picks and loves paintings, sculptures, rugs and tapestries. They, too, are destined to expressively enhance the home. Lastly, this small-batch of numbered and limited edition creations will augment their value over time.

The following video explains how the “Edizioni” Collection was created:

Many of ZANOTTA’s pieces’ forms rise above the triteness of the threadbare expressions or represent creations that went against the tide. So many creations are mentioned in design history books and displayed at the world’s major museums (New York’s MOMA and Metropolitan Museum, the Paris Centre George Pompidou, the London Design Museum, Berlin’s Arts and Crafts Museum, the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein, the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, etc.).

ZANOTTA has received legions of prizes for its achievements. They include three Compasso d’Oro Awards: in 1968 for the Guscio hut designed by Roberto Menghi; in 1979 for De Pas-D’Urbino-Lomazzi’s clothes-stand; and for Enzo Mari’s 1987 Tonietta chair.

Over time, the company has backed a multitude of experimental endeavors and cultural undertakings to promote the development and dissemination of concepts tied to the creation of household artifacts. ZANOTTA participates yearly in countless exhibitions and shows in the sector of industrial design, art, architecture and fashion. This intense cultural promotion of the collection boosts its manufacturing.

Currently, the firm’s collections are distributed in over sixty nations.

The video below narrates the history of the ZANOTTA brand from its very beginnings:

Zanotta – La Poesia del Design from DZINE store on Vimeo.

This video was produced by Zanotta SpA and was presented at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco during a lecture set up by DZINE and the Furniture Design department at CCA.


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