A conversation with Michele De Lucchi – architect, designer and Professor of Design at Venice University traces the outlines of a career that has been packed with diversity since the Eighties. Together De Lucchi and Alberto Bassi talk through the key events of a professional life that has ranged from architecture to interior design.
De Lucchi redesigned the entire look of the Italian Post Office from its offices to every other aspect of visual communication, starting from the celebrated colour pictures of Italian landscapes that adorn the Post Office’s cars and vans. This was followed by various visual design and decoration projects for Telecom Italia including the Future Centres that showcased the technological present and potential future. De Lucchi was responsible for Enel’s new, white electronic electricity meters that have started to appear in our homes. On a somewhat grander scale, he designs power stations for Enel as well. And let’s not forget the Tolomeo, the articulated table lamp no design-conscious office or home can afford to be without.
There have been at least two watershed experiences in the De Lucchi story. One was his involvement in the Memphis Group, that crucible of contemporary design which brought De Lucchi into regular contact with the movement’s founder Ettore Sottsass Jr, uncontested guru of an entire generation of young architects and the proponent of a complex, all-embracing and usefully self-questioning approach to design.
At that point the conversation naturally turns to that particular class of design objects that the critic Gillo Dorfles has called “articles for super individual use”: technical service procedures often for the public sector which demand meticulous design engineering backed up by specific expertise.
The article continues in Auto & Design no. 138