Art & Design Magazine

Modern Italian Design: The First US Exhibition of the Work of Ico and Luisa Parisi at Sebastian + Barquet’s Chelsea Gallery

By Objectsnotpaintings
Walking down 24th Street last week I noticed an exhibition of the work of Ico and Louisa Parisi at Sebastian + Barquet Gallery, a gallery which specializes in 20th century and contemporary design. I was delighted to see the Parisis’ work on view but not at all surprised. After all I had just read an interview with the gallery’s director, Nicholas Kilner, who revealed that he is seeing a revival of interest in Italian design and was planning on including some rare pieces in his booth at TEFAF Maastricht (the world’s most important art fair which is closing this weekend), including a secretaire and chair by Gio Ponti.

Modern Italian Design: The First US Exhibition of the Work of Ico and Luisa Parisi at Sebastian + Barquet’s Chelsea Gallery

Ico and Luisa Parisi, Small Chest of Drawers (1959), solid and veneered rosewood, molded teak plywood, brushed metal and polished metal elements, produced by MIM Rome.  Image courtesy of Sebastian+Barquet.


Modern Italian Design: The First US Exhibition of the Work of Ico and Luisa Parisi at Sebastian + Barquet’s Chelsea Gallery

Ico and Louisa Parisi, Two-Door Credenza (1959), solid and veneered rosewood, molded teak plywood, brushed metal and polished metal elements, produced by MIM, Rome. Image courtesy of Sebastian+Barquet.

Titled “Enigma Variation: Ico & Luisa Parisi Between Architecture & Design”, it is hard to believe that this is the first exhibition devoted to this talented husband and wife team in the United States. Works on view include pieces from some of their most important private commissions, including the Casa Zucchi in Como, and also examples of their designs for mass production by companies such as M.I.M. and Cassina. According to the show’s press release “The concept behind the show is the unfolding of the Parisi oeuvre, in all its multiplicity and complexities, from the immediate post-war years and the duo’s independent beginnings in Como up to the ambient of the 1960s-70s, when Parisi presented his Hypothesis for an Existential House at the Venice Biennale.”   
Parisi, born in Palermo but worked mostly in Como, had a fertile imagination and lent his talents to the design of furniture and objects and was also an artist and an architect. He liked to stay busy and founded several important art and design collectives. He collaborated with his wife Luisa for much of his career. The 1960’s through the 1980’s were most fruitful for them (although the pieces in the exhibition date even earlier). During this time they produced the bulk of their furniture designs in a clean, modern style which became their trademark. The Parisis’ work is devoid of decoration in that there is no ornamentation but it is never boring as the lines of the tables, chairs, whatever the piece may be, are never straight. We can describe their form as being in constant motion, if the legs of his furniture could actually move, they would run away.
Several things caught my eye in this exhibition, including a beautiful and rare multi-colored enamel and steel “Iride” floor lamp (1970), a beautiful sofa upholstered in blue fabric with elegant tapered walnut legs (ca. 1946), and a fabulous walnut vanity (1951) commissioned by the Zucchi family. This particular piece is a favorite of mine. The upper portion of the frame encases the drawers and the mirror is hinged. It is quite surrealist actually.

Modern Italian Design: The First US Exhibition of the Work of Ico and Luisa Parisi at Sebastian + Barquet’s Chelsea Gallery

Ico and Luisa Parisi, Custom Vanity (1951), walnut, mirror, metal hardware.Provenance: Zucchi family estate, Como. Image courtesy of Sebastian+Barquet.

Whether there really has been a recent revival in interest in Italian design, I am not sure. Good Italian design, regardless of the decade, has always done well at auction. Prices have always been stellar for important pieces by Bugatti, Mollino, Ponti and Parisi. Personally, I love Italian design. I do not think it can ever be confused with work produced in other countries. It is so unique and stylish, and regardless of its age, young and sexy. But I guess the same can be said of the people who live there.
This exhibition is also co-curated by Brian Kisch, an expert in Italian 20th century design, and will be on view through the end of April.
Sebastian+Barquet Gallery
544 West 24th Street, NYC


You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Video: SalomonTV Takes Us on a Dream Trip to Nepal

    Video: SalomonTV Takes Dream Trip Nepal

    If you could go on a dream trip, where would it be? For trail runner Tyler Courville, it would be a visit to Nepal to go running with National Geographic... Read more

    The 23 May 2017 by   Kungfujedi
    OUTDOORS
  • 5 Ice Cream Shops Keeping Chicago Cool This Summer

    Cream Shops Keeping Chicago Cool This Summer

    There’s no better sweet treat during summertime than ice cream. When the sun is out and temperatures climb higher, warm desserts just can’t compete. Read more

    The 23 May 2017 by   Urbanmatter Chicago
    TRAVEL
  • Coqui Coqui Residences

    Coqui Residences

    The chill and laid back subtle bohemian modern rustic elegance of the Coqui Coqui residences is undoubtedly the best way to drift away on a hectic Tuesday... Read more

    The 23 May 2017 by   Myparadissi
    HOME, INTERIOR DESIGN
  • First Look: Christian Actress Meagan Good In Election Night Romance

    First Look: Christian Actress Meagan Good Election Night Romance

    ChristianNews We have the first look pics of Christian actress Meagan Good in an election night romance drama starring opposite Omari Hardwick. Read more

    The 23 May 2017 by   Firstladyb
    SPIRITUALITY
  • Sedo Weekly Sales Led by Leem.com

    Sedo released their weekly sales and Leem.com was the top sale at $30,000. OnlyYou.com sold for $27,000. Songs and movies have both been titled Only You, so thi... Read more

    The 23 May 2017 by   Worldwide
    BUSINESS, TECH
  • Combining Posts

    Combining Posts

    Due to illness (not mine) it's been a while since I've been out either on the patch or further afield, today I finally made it out for a morning stroll around... Read more

    The 23 May 2017 by   Ashley Crombet-Beolens
    ENVIRONMENT
  • Sir Roger Moore – Always Living in the Fast Lane…

    Roger Moore Always Living Fast Lane…

    Today at the age of 89 years, the film actor and former "James Bond", Sir Roger Moore passed away, after a short battle with cancer. He was the longest serving... Read more

    The 23 May 2017 by   Solarisastro
    BODY, MIND, SPIRIT, SPIRITUALITY

Magazines