Andrea Branzi is a designer and architect known for his involvement in the radical Italian design collectives Archizoom and Memphis. Since the 1970s, Branzi has created poetic and rigorous designs at the intersection of technology, urban humanism and our evolving relationship with nature.
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I try to carry out designing as a form of reflection, an evolved form of thought, also as a knowable category. The core of my work is not architecture per se, a discipline per se, I’m interested in architecture and the discipline because of its tight bond with knowledge.
Three Things to Know about Andrea Branzi
His 1966 architectural graduate thesis at the University of Florence was a plan for an urban amusement park that included a supermarket inside a discotheque.
Branzi uses the ear as a reoccuring visual motif to prompt people to "listen" and feel the subtleties of the surrounding space.
As part of the radical design collective Archizoom, Branzi worked on No -stop City , an urban planning project that presented the city as "inexpressive, catatonic, and the only creative systems are those produced by the market." Built on an endless and adaptable grid, it proposed that people would be freed by the lack of aesthetic codes. No-stop City has been seen as a harbinger of the internet.
[My designs are] determined active resistance...of the vulgarity and violence of the world....by illuminating – if only briefly – the walls, the floors, the squares, by following a narration that links man once again to the mysteries that he loves: his life in the cosmos, his house in the world, the twilight of pleasure, the archetypes of his body, and the magic of technology.
Andrea Branzi b. 1938
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.