Born in Como in 1945, Italian designer Alberto Meda studied mechanical engineering at the Politecnico di Milano, graduating in 1969. His pragmatic and rational training has engendered designs that are clear, precise, and functional—which has attracted commissions from a wide variety of major design brands.
From 1972 to 1979, Meda was the technical director for Kartell , where he oversaw the production of furniture collections and equipment. During these years, he had the opportunity to work alongside a number of inspiring design luminaries, including the Castiglioni brothers, Richard Sapper, and Marco Zanuso . He also befriended a number of proponents of radical design, like Franco Raggi, Daniela Puppa, and Denis Santachiara, who encouraged him to transfer his focus from production to design. Since 1979, Meda has worked as a successful freelance designer for the likes of Alfa Romeo, Alias, Alessi, Cinelli, Colombo Design, Ideal Standard, Luceplan, Legrand, Mandarina Duck, Omron Japan, Philips, Olivetti, and Vitra.
Notably, in 1994, Meda’s minimalistic design aesthetic caught the eye of Vitra CEO Rolf Fehlbaum, who commissioned Meda to design a chair—now known as the Meda Chair (1996-98). The collaboration is ongoing, and Meda has made a significant contribution to the success of Vitra's Office Collection.
Although Meda is a versatile designer who works across scales, his designs tend to share an aura of the scientific. Standout pieces by Meda include Light-Light Chair (1984-87) and Soft-Light Chair (1989) for Alias; Lola Lamp (1987) and Titania Lamp (1989) for Luceplan; Tondo Watch for Alessi (2004); Honeycomb Folding Chair for Kartell (2008); and Physix Task Chair for Vitra (2012).
Meda’s work has been exhibited in museums worldwide, including MoMA New York, Vitra Design Museum, and the Triennale in Milan. He is the recipient of four Compasso d’Oro awards (1989, 1994, 2008, 2011); in 2005 London’s Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures & Commerce (RSA) named Meda an Honorary Royal Designer for Industry.
Meda lives and works in Milan.
* Images courtesy of Alberto Meda, Alias, and Kartell