* 1931 Mailand
Massimo Vignelli, Italian graphic artist and designer, studied architecture at Milan Polytechnic and Venice University from 1950 until 1953. In Venice, Massimo Vignelli also met Lella Valle, who would become his wife. Born in Udine in 1936, Lella Valle also studied architecture. From 1953 Massimo Vignelli worked as a glass designer for Venini. The 1955 Massimo Vignelli "Fungo" lamp is one of his finest early designs, featuring an elegantly curved, mushroom silhouette. Massimo Vignelli taught from 1958 until 1960 at the Chicago Institue of Design. During those years, Lella Vignelli worked in New York for Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. In 1960 the couple returned to Italy and opened a practice in Milan. Massimo Vignelli joined Bob Noorda and Jay Doblin in founding Unimark International, a design consultancy, in Milan in 1965. That same year, however, Lella and Massimo Vignelli moved for good to New York, where they opened a Unimark branch in 1966 that specialized in developing corporate logos and designing the corporate look of major firms. In 1971 the practice became Vignelli Associates. Firms and institutions whose corporate image was styled by Lella and Massimo Vignelli include Knoll International, for American Airlines, Bloomingdale's, Cinzano, Lancia, United Colors of Benetton, Ford Xerox, and the International Design Center New York. In 1972 they designed a new signage system for the New York subway. For Poltronova, Lella and Massimo Vignelli designed "Saratoga" (1964), a stringently austere seating system composed of straight-edged elements of lacquered wood. In 1979 Massimo and Lella Vignelli designed the "Metafora" table for Casigliani, boasting a substructure of geometric blocks, spheres, cylinders, and pyramids on which rests a rectangular glass top. It was followed similar designs, including the 1983 "Ambiguitā" table. In 1984 Massimo and Lella Vignelli designed the "Kono" table with a conical substructure and a glass top; in 1985 they came up with the"Pisa" table, with bodies standing at an angle, and "Mesa", another table. Lella and Massimo Vignelli also designed furniture for Knoll, Poltrona Frau. and Poltronova. The Vignellis also designed the New York Artemide showroom.