Italian design legend, Duccio Trassinelli was born in Florence in 1945. He showed talent from a young age and began his training at a Fine Arts Academy, graduating in 1967. He went on to attain a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Design from the I.S.I.A. (Institute of Industrial Design) in Florence, where he subsequently taught Methodology of Design from 1973 to 1983. Trassinelli had a voracious appetite for work and began a steady stream of internships and collaborations while still a student, gaining experience across a wide variety of art and design disciplines. From 1968 to 1971 he assisted artist Paolo Scheggi with his exhibitions in Milan and Florence; later, he was a member of the Scientific Technical Committee for the management of I.S.I.A. from 1978 to 1980; in 1981 he designed a range of urban furnishing for the City of Florence; and he planned and furnished the Sports Department at the Municipality of Florence for the 1990 World Cup, just to name a few.
Trassinelli’s design practice has encompassed an expansive range of diverse areas. Studio PENTA, which Trassinelli founded in Florence in 1965, designed a futurist competition racing car, made by FRABAT-Florence. The car was exhibited at the “Competition Car Show” in Turin in 1967 and was raced at Mugello Circuit in Imola and is now owned by a private collector. Still a student, in 1967 Trassinelli designed the ATM city buses in Milan, which were manufactured by Officine Breda. Another piece of outstanding industrial design, Trassinelli created the first magnetic reader with a separate keyboard for Solis Electronic in 1984, which was used in supermarkets throughout Italy. Indeed, Trassinelli is the holder of a number of patents and has collaborated on new inventions and product design innovations with partners like BMW Monaco and TETRAPAK Sweden, amongst others. He has also curated product design exhibitions, such as at Cassina’s showrooms in Milan and New York, and has collaborated with many design galleries and institutions, including with Galerie Yves Gastou, Paris on their monographic Ettore Sottsass exhibition in 2011.
A significant milestone in Trassinelli’s career, which marked the beginning of his interest in interior design, was the founding of Studio A.R.D.I.T.I. in 1968. With the other members of the collective, which became an influential player in the anti-design movement until the group disbanded in 1977, he developed objects with original features and a new philosophy of use, including the patented Memoria Chair (1972). He was one of the first designers to experiment with low-voltage lighting, such as the BT Pyramid Wall Lamp (1972). Many of Studio A.R.D.I.T.I.’s pieces are now in the permanent collections of leading museums, including MoMA, the Centre Pompidou, and the Vitra Design Museum.
Across all of his diverse design projects, Trassinelli is fundamentally concerned with the synthesis between technology and functionality. His aesthetic considerations begin with the technological idea and the end result must interact with the user in some way. In his interior design practice, since the early days with Studio A.R.D.I.T.I., Trassinelli has been particularly interested in lighting. As he says, “light is the source that determines the form.” Adjusting the lighting in a space alters the shapes that we see, and transforms the atmosphere, the mood, and our perception of beauty. It is these research interests that motivated Trassinelli’s lighting collections, such as Lampade da Nilufar (2009), and his recent experiments with LED lighting.
Trassinelli’s designs have been exhibited extensively at peak industry events and institutions, such as the Milan Triennale, Salone del Mobile, Museum of Cassina, amongst numerous others, and he is represented by Nilafur Gallery. In 2011, in recognition of his longstanding contribution to the field of design, Trassinelli received the Honorary Citizen award of Greve, in Chianti. He continues to live and work in Greve.