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Iconic Italian Designer: Ico Parisi

Parisi designed numerous interiors, furniture (primarily in wood and metal), glass, jewelry, and architecture projects.

One of our favorite Italian Modern designers is Ico Parisi. We browse through books of his design works if we want to acquire some ideas for retro and vintage furniture. His style of Mid-Century Modern art is distinctly Italian. He often made furniture of softwoods, frequently bent or boomerang-shaped. His creations are stylish and refined, and they look wonderful in any room. It is difficult to imagine that his works are 60–70 years old!

What Parisi’s life was like

Ico Parisi was the son of an art teacher and was born in Palermo in 1916; nonetheless, he spent the majority of his life in Como. In his early years as an adult, he worked in architecture and building construction in Como. Parisi started making movies in the 1940s and, in 1945, he started designing furniture, for which he would become best known.

Ico Parisi wed Luisia Aiana in 1947. She was a trained architect and a Gio Ponti trainee. They established their own design studio in 1948. He and his wife Luisa created stunning furniture that is now in high demand among collectors and design enthusiasts.

At the Institute Atheneum in Lausanne, Switzerland, he studied architecture from 1949 to 1952 under Alberto Sartoris. In 1956, he joined the Associazione per il Disegno Industriale. 1996 saw Parisi's passing.

His creations have an Italian mid-century modern aesthetic and are made of soft woods that are frequently shaped like boomerangs. Metal slats and brightly colored upholstery complete the look.

Parisi pieces in our collection

1. Unique corner shelf in walnut from the 1950s

Only one is known to have been produced. The corner shelf has two flush drawers, one of which has a vertical "grissinatura" texture. A little compartment is covered by the top of the shorter side, which is joined to the front with white Formica. 

Corner shelf from the 1950s

2. ‘Model 869’ lounge chairs in walnut from the 1960s

These chairs can also function as a sofa when put together. They are newly upholstered in a beautiful green fabric. The details of the wooden frame are amazing and have an ‘interlocking’ structure. The seat is secured by a system composed of octagonal-shaped wooden struts, which are carved and cut out to interlock with the horizontal slats. 

'Model 869' lounge chairs

3. Brugnoli Mobili Cantù dining table from the 1950s

We believe this table is made of walnut because of its attractive base and vertically lined legs. The top contains a pattern-inlaid inlay of wood. There are easily eight chairs at the enormous table. It is in decent shape but has some age-related wear and tear, particularly some scratches on the top surface.

1950s dining table

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