September 29, 2010

Martino Zanotta's Lecture at CCA and Dinner at DZINE

Last week was very inspiring and educational with Martino Zanotta, the President and CEO of Zanotta SpA, in town. He arrived in San Francisco last Wednesday to give a lecture at California College of the Arts, coordinated by the school's furniture program and DZINE.

With an audience of over 120 design enthusiasts and professionals, Martino Zanotta shared the story of the company which was founded in 1954 by his father, Aurelio Zanotta. A video presented the long history of Zanotta and included interviews with a number of design icons, such as Enzo Mari, Gae Aulenti and Achille Castiglioni. The new breed of designers collaborating with Zanotta, such as Damien Williamson and Noe Duchaufour Lawrance, was also given time on the video to share their unique stories behind the products. Zanotta, unlike many other furniture manufacturers, never focused on just one vision or one designer. Instead, Aurelio looked to produce an eclectic collection of pieces, and always felt his company to be a design company, rather than only a manufacturer. Zanotta has been the leader in furniture design because of it's innovation and use of materials, as it has never stopped questioning design and has resulted in many breakthrough pieces. The ‘Throw-Away’ was the first all foam sofa and the most well-known 'Sacco', developed over 40 years ago, was the very first bean bag chair, symbolizing freedom and nonconformity. Pieces from Zanotta’s collection are held in numerous museums around the world. Many of Zanotta's products are often duplicated, but this only reinforces the significance of the original design.

Today, the company is still run by the Zanotta family and from the way that Martino speaks about it, is likely to stay that way. Zanotta’s vision began with Aurelio Zanotta and continues with the next generation and partnerships with new designers.

Following his presentation Martino opened up the floor for Q&A, where he was able to touch upon topics of sustainability, company direction, relationship between manufacturer and designer, the future of design, and advances in technology.

The following evening, Martino Zanotta joined DZINE for an intimate dinner in his honor. About 25 guests were given the unique opportunity to mingle and dine with Martino, as well as a personal tour through each of the pieces displayed at DZINE.

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