Vico Magistretti: Designer Spotlight

Vico Magistretti 3

“Look at usual things with unusual eyes.”
Vico Magistretti

Ludovico Magistretti was born in Milan on 6 October 1920 and he came from a family of notable architects.  During his illustrious and awarded career, which spans the decades from the mid-1940s to the early 2000s, not only was he a leading architect and a brilliant teacher,  he also became one of the most influential designers of his time.  His detailed biography is available here at the Vico Magistretti Foundation website, who has kindly gave permission to use images of his original design sketches..

Vico Magistretti
Vico Magistretti, one of the founding father of Italian Design

“Magistretti was one of the founding fathers of so-called Italian Design, a phenomenon which he himself described as “miraculous” and which only happened thanks to the coming together of two key players: architects and manufacturers. He began working with some exceptional manufacturers from the end of the 1960s, including Artemide, Cassina and Oluce, designing objects for them which are still “classics” of modern-day production.”

“Magistretti got the chance to apply a reworking of certain articles of traditional anonymous design when working with Campeggi, designing some rather unobtrusive objects bursting with his own personality: Kenia chair (1995), Ospite bed (1996), Africa armchair (2000), which were all folding, and Magellano sofa (2003). Certain objects, again designed for Campeggi, were in some sense dilated so that they could serve different purposes, such as the Estesa armchair (2000) and Fan sofa (2007), the last product the architect ever designed.”

Campeggi, a heritage Italian design brand,  was one of the first convertible furniture producers in the world. From 1968, they started to produce multi-functional objects working with design masters such as Magistretti, as well as fresh new talents. We are excited to share 4 products designed by Vico Magistretti and re-edited by Campeggi which are available in the UK at

Ospite – a day bed for occasional nights too!

The Ospite by Vico Magistretti is a piece of design genius folding day bed to a slim 13cm profile in a few easy movements. This beautiful sofa is poised to become an emergency bed at any time if needed or simply for an afternoon nap.

More about the design: “Here the designer once again reasons over a few thin folding pieces that are instrumental to the use that is to be made of them, graciously assembled by a design genius to create objects capable of solving the most challenging spatial restrictions. The folded sofa bed is only 13 cm thick and meets the demand of the times for nomad furniture: a full-fledged bed that, once closed, is small enough to be stowed away or transported.”

Oblò – changing forms 

Oblò is a sofa which can be converted into an armchair, a single or double bed and a chaise longue, all these forms are equally important. The large round cushion rotates on an invisible pin and it can be both a backrest or a relaxing cushion. Available in the bright colour combination designed by Magistretti, as shown, or in your choice of colour combination.

Broomstick Uno 

Designed by Vico Magistretti 42 years ago for Alias under the original name of Tenorio, this clever coat stand, now re-edited as Broomstick Uno, is made from maple wood and combines beauty and functionality.  It  folds down into a slim profile and when opened it increases in stability as the coats are hung on it.

More about the design: “The idea came from the need to furnish a small London apartment when the designer was teaching at the Royal College of Art with a simple, “do-it-yourself” look, and draws inspiration from the designer’s first 1947 furniture which were always present in his research. The Tenorio coat rack consists of broomsticks joined at the top with other pieces which open up, with a slight twist, to form the floor support for the coat rack.” The Tenorio coat rack was re-edited by Campeggi in 1996 under the name of Broomstick Uno and re-launched at Salone in September 2021.

Piccy perfect 

For a statement folding sun chair, it is hard to beat this design classic by Vico Magistretti. Originally designed in 1946, this beautiful wide-seat deck chair has firmly stood the test of time. Piccy is made from a waxed natural beechwood structure and cotton yarn-dyed fabric seat, it’s perfect for your balcony, deck, picnic or outdoor event.

More about the design: “The Piccy folding chair has a beech structure covered with a tightly stretched cloth. The cloth is double-layered and it is stretched through a rope fastening system. The chair was produced by the Ditta Fumagalli of Meda at a price of 4000 Lire. It was exhibited at the RIMA Expo in 1946 and at the Furniture Exhibition at the 8th edition of the Triennale, where it was awarded the Bronze Medal”.

For Inspired Designs

To discover furniture and home accessories from some of the noble fathers of design and fresh young talents, explore our curation of Italian furniture, lighting and accessories at or call us on 020 3908 5605.