Enzo Mari – Formosa Calendar
by Jon Dowling·
As well as being the designer of some of our favourite children’s books, such as ‘The Apple and the Butterfly and his ‘Drawing Paper’ series, Italian-born Enzo Mari is perhaps best known for his work across the fields of furniture and product design.
Enzo Mari (born 1932) is one of Italy's most significant designers. His work draws inspiration from both the idealism of the arts and crafts movement and from his political convictions. Mari trained at the Brera Academy in Milan, graduating in 1956. He studied decorative arts before moving into industrial and furniture design. Since that time he has produced a body of work characterised by an elegant functionalism and an experimentation with the aesthetics of shape. His work is much celebrated, having been displayed in a variety of art and design museums worldwide, including the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna in Rome, the New York Museum of Modern Art and the Paris Louvre.
One of Mari’s most notable long-term partnerships is with the Italian design label Danese. The label was launched in Milan in 1957 by Bruno Danese and Jacqueline Vodoz and became known for producing contemporary pieces that fused together the language of graphics, photography and the visual arts. It created both small and large scale furniture and accessories for homes, offices and schools. Environmentally sound workplaces, materials and finished products are at the heart of its philosophy.
The ‘Formosa’ wall calendar is one of Mari’s most celebrated designs for Danese. The piece has become a real classic and was designed by Mari in 1963. ‘Formosa’ is a perpetual calendar and thanks to its timeless look is still an essential object for the home and office. The piece is incredibly graphic and displays a smart design that combines both visibility and easy use. Numbers, months and days of the week have been printed on metal slabs that are suspended on a support. You can turn them by hand, day after day, in order to form the correct date. This calendar is not limited to one specific year – it will show the day of the week for any date, whatever year it is.
A clever design combining ease of use and visibility, the Formosa is a great example of the form & function associated with Mari's design work and is included in museum collections around the world.
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