Item of the Month - In Depth

Item Of The Month In Depth, June – Ico Parisi Sofa & Chairs c.1956


This month I would like to emphasise items already sold (within a day of purchase!) because of their current appeal and also because it may be possible to source them again. This classic Ico Parisi sofa with matching armchairs has become synonymous with 50’s Italian chic. Its clean curved futuristic appearance back in the 50’s was a must have item in any contemporary interior with integrity. There were slight variations on this model, including a clam shell like design and the famous asymmetric model. This sofa and chairs are the most simplistic in design, with clean, bold curved lines. They were very robustly made and the angular brass legs allowed the item of furniture to almost ‘float’ delicately above ground.

If you are interested in this model, then do contact me and I may be able to source them for you.

Domenico (Ico) Parisi c.1916 – 1996

Born in Palermo, Ico Parisi at first started out as a painter, working mainly in abstract and worked with Radice, Rho & Badiali. He graduated in construction in Como 1936 and his first job was in the office of Giuseppe Terragni before being abruptly interrupted by the Second World War. After the war in 1948, he returned to Como with his wife Luisa Aiani and they start working together on interior and  furniture design. They quickly find themselves designing for for companies such as Cassina, MIM, Singer, Altamira, Longhi & Cappellini.

In 1950 Ico graduated in architecture at Lausanne University, quickly going on to exhibit at the “34th Salon des Artistes Décorateurs” in Paris.

Notable commissions which followed included the furniture designs for the “Library of the State” Milan 1947 and stands for the “Exhibition of Journalism” Milan 1947, “The Fair of Bergamo” Bergamo 1950, “Carcano House” Maslianico 1949, the “Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agricoltura” Sondrio 1953 & the “Pavilion Lounge” for the X Triennale in Milan 1954. During this period in the 1950’s, Ico forms close collaborations with L. Fontana, F. Somaini, B. Munari & M. Root .

During the 1960’s, significant projects included designs for  the ‘Hotel Corte dei Butteri” , The Church “Santa Maria dell’Osa” Fonteblanda Grosseto 1962, “Casa Orlandi” Erba 1966, “Casa Fontana” 1968, “Casa Vivere Insieme” and “House Living Together” Montorfano 1969. In the same year he organises and takes part in a significant exhibition in Como entitled “Campo Urbano”.

During the 1970’s and 80’s, his designs for furniture and architectural schemes featured heavily in various exhibitions, including the Venice Biennale 1976 & 78, the  Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna di Roma 1979, “achieved Utopia” at the Palazzo delle Prigioni Vecchie of Venice 1978, “Apocalypse Gentile” Rome 1979, The Museo d’Ixelles, Brussels 1980, the Palazzo dei Diamanti di Ferrara 1981, “Les Join Urban Documenta” Kassel 1982, “Les annèes 50” presso il Centre Pompidou Paris 1988.

Finally in 1984, there were two exhibitions showing a retrospective of his work over the past forty years at the Italian Cultural Institute in Paris and at the Center ADP in Lille. In 1986 the first exhibition dedicated to him was held at the Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea di Milano entitled “Ico Parisi: Workshop of the possible”,  followed by “Ico Parisi: & Architecture” 1990,  “Ico Parisi: & Drawings” 1994 all held at the Galleria Civica di Modena, Milan, which now hold all of his donated archive and drawings.