Introducing plastic to the home. This was the challenge and final aim which Kartell contemporary furniture was firstly created with. 62 years if company history marked by innovative design products that have led Kartell Italian design to be one of the most appreciated in the whole world, a leader in its sector.
Back in 1949 the chemical engineer Giulio Cartelli decided to start a new kind of business by producing plastic items: at first he limited his production to car accessories, then expanded it to household goods, laboratory equipment and finally to the lamps, chairs and home ware that are now the most representative products of Kartell.
Giulio Cartelli wanted to bring revolutionary modifications into the world of home furniture and laboratory instruments, introducing plastic as the main material used in his products, thus substituting glass (in laboratories) or any other hardware. His challenge based on a continuous technological research and care to the design led Kartell contemporary furniture to be ahead to the interior design world.
In the 60’s and 70’s Kartell consolidated his already high position in the Italian interior design sector, but it was in 1972 that the Italian brand caught the eye of an international public. Kartell was invited by the MOMA of New York to take part in “Italy, the new domestic landscape”, an exhibition totally dedicated to the Italian furnishing design. Kartell presented three prototypes of interior design elements created by the famous designers Gae Aulenti, Ettore Sottsass and Marco Zanuso, which are still part of the permanent collection of the museum.
The turning point had come, Kartell contemporary furniture was launched on the international market. Every Kartell product bear the “made-in-Italy” label, a guarantee of high quality and modern style, along with the production progress and new technologies applied to achieve always best results.
Kartell home furniture history is marked by a series of icons that left Kartell’s typical imprint on the world of interior design. The Kartell catalogue of best sellers includes chairs, lamps, tables and home accessories. In the lighting systems, the Bourgie lamp created by Ferruccio Laviani is without any doubt one of the most worldwide known table lamp of the history. Its baroque-like style mixed with the modernity of its material, give this lamp a unique image that has become an icon in the public’s imaginary. Bourgie’s versatility of use allows it to be placed in every room, illuminating it with a myriad of reflections.
Kartell cult objects aren’t limited only to home furniture, but they can be found also in offices and public spaces. The Maui chair created by Vico Magistretti is commonly used in lecture rooms, for example, because its light shape allows piling it up easily. The same characteristics can be found on Lamarie by Philippe Starck: transparent and colored, its plastic materials make it very light and resistant, suitable to every occasion. The same famous designer Philippe Starck launched a plastic armchair that revolutioned the classical outdoor design. The bubble line signed by Kartell and made of mass-colored polyethylene set the trend of a new concept of “industrial living-rooms” made entirely of plastic.
Kartell’s aim was not only to introduce plastic in home furniture, but also to change laboratory’s habits replacing glass with polythene materials. With the slogan “plastic like science”, in the 80’s Kartell started to support its Labware division. With an eye always focused on the innovations and new technologies, Kartell finally reached its goal and the lab ware sector became so important that it came to represent one third of the Italian company’s production.
Kartell Italian design bears the signature of various famous designers from all over the world. Since the 90’s Kartell has signed collaborations with important names such as Antonio Citterio, Ron Arad, Piero Lissoni, Alberto Meda or Patricia Urquiola, all under the guide of Claudio Luti, Kartell’s Chairman since 1988. Their creativity mixed with Kartell’s constant attention to new technologies and production solutions has led the company to win several awards, among which the “Compasso d’oro alla carriera” to Kartell for its constant research and development and to Centrokappa, the Kartell’s brand created for Italian design image development and promotion.
Together with the awards, witnesses of the importance Kartell contemporary furniture has reached over the years are the exhibitions dedicated to the Italian firm, and the Kartell museum, which include the cult objects that have marked the history of interior as well as industrial design. Setting a record-turnover of about 120 millions of Euros, the Italian brand with its flagship stores and point of sales present all over the world is now internationally recognized as a synonym of innovative design, creativity and style.