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Italo Lupi,
© Courtesy ADI
© FIORUCCI 
© miu miu

Italo Lupi is one of the most influential figures of Italian post-war design. Now the renowned architect, graphic designer, art director and journalist has died at his home in Milan on 27 June at the age of 89. When asked in 2013 when and how his career began, Lupi replied in an interview: “It started with a job as a design consultant for the department stores’ ‘La Rinascente’ in Milan, together with two colleagues from the Politecnico, one of whom was the architect and designer Mario Bellini, shortly before he began his successful career at Olivetti. We worked in the design office and designed new objects or, in my case, new packaging and graphics. It was a very interesting experience. The office was right in front of the cathedral towers. It seemed like you could touch them if you put your hand out of the window.”

Lupi, who for a time was assistant to Pier Giacomo Castiglioni (Achille’s older brother) at the Politecnico, attracted attention early on with his work. In 1960, at just 25 years old, he designed the 6th annual Compasso d’Oro exhibition together with Mario Bellini, his former classmate and colleague at “La Rinacente”. He went on to work for companies such as Cassina, Flos, Prada and Vespa, developing brands and iconic logos for Cinelli, Fiorucci, Miu Miu and the Museo Poldi Pezzoli, among others. For the 16th Milan Triennale, he designed a poster with a large “T” that contains the values and themes of the exhibition – city, architecture, design, fashion, audiovisual media – in compartments in its crossbar. In general, Lupi was extremely versatile as a designer: the spectrum of his designs ranges from fashion to the design of museum furniture, from cover, book and magazine design to exhibition design and the design of urban space. In the early 1970s, he worked, among others, for the architecture magazine “Zodiac”, founded by Adriano Olivetti, as well as for “Domus”, where he served as editor-in-chief alongside Mario Bellini from 1986 to 1992. He had a particularly close relationship with the magazine “Abitare”, where he was a staff member from 1974 to 1986 and director from 1992 to 2007. Lupi worked with the Palazzo Grassi in Venice, the Scuderie Papali and the Quirinale in Rome, the World Ski Championships in Cortina d’Ampezzo and the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin.

Italo Lupi has been awarded numerous international prizes, including the German Design Prize in 2011. He received the Compasso D’Oro alone three times: in 1998 for the cultural magazine IF, in 2008 for the design of Turin for the Winter Olympics (with Migliore & Servetto), and in 2014 for his life’s work. Lupi’s close ties with the ADI, the “Associazione per il Disegno Industriale”, the Italian association for industrial design, and with the Milan Triennale had already lasted for decades.


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