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Donato D'Urbino

Donato D'Urbino

*  1932 Mailand

Born in Milan in 1935, the Italian designer and architect Donato D'Urbino studied until 1966 at Milan Polytechnic, where he met Gionatan De Pas and Paolo Lomazzi, with whom Donato D'Urbino opened a joint practice in Milan in 1966. The designer trio De Pas/D'Urbino/Lomazzi became famous overnight in 1967 with "Blow", an armchair made of PVC film they designed for Zanotta. Inflatable, available in lurid colors, and an instant Pop icon, "Blow" looks more like a plaything for the swimming pool than seating furniture seriously intended for home use. In 1970 Donato D'Urbino, De Pas, and Lomazzi again attracted a lot of attention with "Joe" (for Poltronova). Meant as a tribute to the American baseballer player and legendary home-run hitter Joe DiMaggio, who was also married to Marilyn Monroe, "Joe" was an armchair the trio designed in the form of an outsize baseball glove. Both pieces of seat furniture have become Pop icons and, as radical designer objects, they represent a break with traditional notions of seating and lifestyle. In 1973 De Pas/D'Urbino/Lomazzi designed (for Zanotta) "Sciangai", a clothes stand, which is an upright bunch of wooden rods 1.5 meters long that looks like giant chopsticks. In 1991 the trio designed another clothes stand (for Zerodisegno), called "Octopus", with legs that certainly look rather like tentacles nevertheless, the comical associations generated by the form conceal a useful object. All three designers were witty and so are their designs. Gionatan De Pas died in 1991 but Donato D'Urbino and Paolo Lomazzi continued to run the practice, now as D'Urbino/Lomazzi. They have designed countless other memorable objects, including "Nuvola" (1992 for Zanotta), a double bed; "Rosa del Deserto" (1994 for Tonelli), a segmented glass table, and "Nessie" (1996 for Lumina Italia), a serpentine hanging lamp.