Museo Kartell

The project

Kartellmuseo was established in 1999 on the occasion of the company’s fiftieth anniversary by President Claudio Luti with the aim of conserving, promoting and enhancing the company’s material and intangible cultural heritage.

In 2000, the museum won the Guggenheim Business and Culture Award for the best company museum.
Its collections, always in progress, consist of more than 8,000 objects, 5,000 designs and 15,000 photographs that together recreate a precise picture of Kartell’s history and production, the plastic materials adopted, the production technologies and the communication and distribution strategies used over the course of the company’s 65 years of activity.

Museokartell is housed in the Kartell factory in Noviglio, at the gates of Milan, the company’s general headquarters since 1967. The building was designed by architects Anna Castelli Ferrieri and Ignazio Gardella, and is considered to be one of the most interesting examples of industrial architecture in Lombardy.
The permanent display of the museum covers more than 2,000 square metres, and was designed by architect Ferruccio Laviani. The display includes the most interesting materials linked to the design history of the objects produced from 1949, the year the company was formed, to date.
Standouts include car accessories, household items, lamps, laboratory items, furniture and accessories which have contributed to changing the domestic landscape and which have entered into our daily lives as iconic objects of Italian design.

The Museum may be visited under reservation and operates to spread the knowledge of design culture to the public through publications and research, guided visits and exhibits.

exhibition itinerary

Kartell 1949 - 2014

’50

1949

A young chemical engineer named Giulio Castelli founds Kartell.
Right from the start, the company is in Milan, focusing the production of its items on technological research and design.
“It was my intention to produce objects that had innovative characteristics, understood as an application of new production technologies, geared towards economy of materials and efficiency of process,” states Giulio Castelli.

1950

The Car Accessories Division is born.
The K101 ski rack, the only one of its kind that is lightweight and easy to install, is the first Kartell product.

1953

The Household Products Division is born.
Kartell starts production on plastic articles using industrial moulds. The new plastic household items combine use and beauty, moving into Italian homes.

1955

Kartell wins the first Compasso d’Oro award for its covered bucket.
Kartell’s contribution to the sector is linked both to the use of new plastic materials and to the design of the products which, designed by Gino Colombini, are offered with significant functional modifications.

1956

The first issue of the magazine “Qualità” debuts.
Published from 1956 to 1960, it addresses the topic of plastic materials as applied to architecture and design. As of the third issue, Michele Provinciali is art director.

1957

The KS 1065 rectangular basin wins the Compasso d’Oro in 1957.
Its structure is very durable thanks to the additional border which is in a harder material than the one used for the basin itself.

1958

The Labware Division is born.
The opening of a sector dedicated to laboratory articles begins once the company has attained a deep knowledge of plastic materials which, due to their characteristics of resistance and unbreakability, represent a leap forward from traditional materials.

1959

The Lighting Division is born.
Kartell develops new functional and environmental solutions for household lighting.
Lamp 4006 by Achille and Piergiacomo Castiglioni, a model for its formal simplicity, is the first suspension lamp produced by Kartell.

1959

The KS 1481 lemon juicer by Gino Colombini wins the Compasso d’Oro Award.
It is the first citrus juicer with a cover that enables the fruit to be juiced without touching it.

’60

1960

The KS1171 drying rack wins the Compasso d’Oro.
The awarding panel cites the following reasons: “(…) The designers’ well-known capacity to interpret the characteristics of materials, and the producer’s well-known care in its execution complete the picture of this modest yet exemplary lesson in design.

1963

The Habitat Division is born.
Kartell launches production on plastic furnishing products. During the 60s, with the international success of Italian and Milanese design, the company strengthens its identity with outside contributions from designers like Giotto Stoppino, Marco Zanuso and Joe Colombo, and by exploring the versatility of materials.

1964

It is a year for change: the K 1340 (then K 4999) highchair is the first seat worldwide made of plastic.
Designed by Marco Zanuso and Richard Sapper, it can be combined, disassembled, and is easy to clean. Designed to be both a chair and a toy, it requires a good four years of development before fully entering production. It wins the Compasso d’Oro during the same year.

1965

Joe Colombo designs the curvy 4801 armchair.
Comprised of three pieces with curved plywood grooving, it is the only Kartell product made entirely in wood. Today, it has been reissued in plastic.

1967

Kartell makes the 4867 Universale chair. Designed by Joe Colombo, it was the first ‘adult-sized’ industrial seat in the world to be internally printed by plastic injection. It is still in production and is one of Kartell’s best-sellers.

1967

The Kartell location in Noviglio opens.
Designed by Anna Castelli Ferrieri and Ignazio Gardella as the company’s general headquarters, today it also houses the Kartell Museum.

1969

Anna Castelli Ferrieri designs the round version of the Componibili modular furniture line.
The square Componibili pieces, which were the first modular furniture pieces, were shortly followed by the round Componibili pieces, meeting demands for lightweight and informal furniture for the young people of the 60s. They are among Kartell’s bestsellers even now, more than 40 years since they began being produced.

1969

Ugo Mulas photographs Anna Castelli Ferrieri with the Kartell team of designers (Giotto Stoppino, Joe Colombo, Alberto Rosselli, Ignazio Gardella, Olaf Von Bohr and Gino Colombini) at the 9th Milan Furniture Fair [Salone Internazionale del Mobile di Milano].

’70

1970

Giotto Stoppino designs the 4032 Tic Tac lamp.
The lamp is designed with the switch integrated into the shaft, and is activated by pressing the lampshade. Its name is onomatopoeic and refers to the noise it produces when it is turned on or off.

1972

Kartell participates in the exhibit MoMA “Italy: The New Domestic Landscape.”
The three living modules produced by Kartell according to designs by Ettore Sottsass, Marco Zanuso and Gae Aulenti, are exhibited. In the same year, objects from the Kartell catalog enter the permanent collection of the American museum.

1973

Centrokappa is born.
The Centrokappa team, directed by Valerio Castelli and comprised of another twenty creators (including Michele De Lucchi, Alberto Meda and Paola Navone) develops design and communications projects and produces cultural events aimed at promoting Italian design.

1975

Kartell creates the “International plastic chair exhibit”
The exhibit, curated by Centrokappa, prompts debate on the issue of the plastic chair, from its beginnings to the present, through the display of 101 emblematic chairs from multiple brands.

1975

Giulio Polvara designs the 4760/4765 stackable bookcase.
This is the first example of a modular bookcase completely in plastic, which could be expanded and stacked as desired through smooth grooves and joints. Cube-containers in primary colors, designed by Centrokappa, attach to the bookcase.

1976

The Kartell table collection of containers is born.
Designed by Anna Castelli Ferrieri, it is a line of food containers which addresses the trend of eliminating the distinction between dining room and kitchen areas, and finally makes it possible to transport food directly from the refrigerator to the table without using serving dishes.

1979

Centrokappa designs the School System.
A system of furnishings for nursery school, both didactic and playful, comprised of chairs, benches and tables equipped with a series of accessories, to be assembled and disassembled through large screws and a screwdriver-contraption.

1979

1979 Compasso d’Oro awarded to the Company.
Reasons of the Compasso d’Oro awarding panel of judges: “Due to the company policy, which is based on the consistent design of its products, and on constant research and an evolving look.”

’80

1982

Anna Castelli Ferrieri’s cone table 4300 debuts.
It is the first table with completely consistent dimensions, obtained using injection moulding technology.

1986

Kartell creates “INES, Terminal Thinking Vehicle,” a project by Denis Santachiara.
Produced in a single model for the exhibit at the Milan Triennial “Domestic project. The house of man,” INES is a robotic maid which, as the audience discovers during the performance staged with the model, seeks independence by rebelling against the boss’ orders.

1987

The 4870 chair wins the Compasso d’Oro ADI Award.
The stackable chair is designed by Anna Castelli Ferrieri and contains, citing the reasons of the awarding panel of judges: “…completely consistent values of use, savings and technology.”

1988

Claudio Luti takes over Kartell and becomes the new President.
After reviewing the catalogue, and with due respect for Kartell DNA, President Luti focuses his strategy on products and introduces an unprecedented way of understanding material and surfaces. The creative team expands with the collaboration of designers such as Philippe Starck, Antonio Citterio, Vico Magistretti, Ron Arad, Ferruccio Laviani.

1988

Philippe Starck designs the Dr. Glob chair.
It is the first chair with square-shaped and opaque surfaces, in pastel colors with metal parts. With it, the plastic chair attains the status of a ‘democratic luxury.’

’90

1994

Bookworm is born.
Ron Arad signs the first free-form (not in a straight line) bookshelf, consisting of a flexible plastic band that can be affixed to the wall as desired.

1994

The Mobil storage system designed by Antonio Citterio with Oliver Löw, wins the Compasso d’Oro Award.
The panel of judges gave the following reasons for the Award: “The object suggests the idea of truly flexible office work. All of the technical-formal solutions are coherent and consistent. It’s a model of choice, between the metallic material of the frame and the clear colored plastic of the drawers.”

1996

Vico Magistretti designs Maui.
It is the first single-shell plastic chair in the world that has no metal parts or ribs supporting the back.

1997

Kartell opens the first flagship store in Milan.
The sales network now covers more than 130 countries and has 130 flagship stores and 250 shop-in-shops.

1999

La Marie is born.
Philippe Starck’s La Marie chair was the first clear polycarbonate chair in the world. Made in a single mould, it brought the concept of transparency to the world of furnishings. Plastic became precious and entered every living space.

’00

2000

The Pompidou Centre in Paris creates the monographic exhibit “La Donation Kartell, un environnement plastique” [“The Kartell Donation, a plastic environment.”
Kartell’s donation to the Pompidou Centre of various discontinued models and samples significantly contributed to the development of the Paris Museum’s design collection. This donation resulted in an important monographic exhibit, in which historical pieces were placed alongside the most representative projects in the catalog.

2000

The Kartell Museum has been awarded the Guggenheim Business & Culture Award for best Company Museum.
It is the first Italian company museum that is supported by a participatory foundation.

2001

Bubble Club is the first sofa with 100% industrial production.
It is the first one to be produced using rotational moulding technology. It won the Compasso d’Oro Award in 2001.

2002

Philippe Starck’s Louis Ghost chair is born.
The clear armchair connotes the company’s image more than any other product created thus far. Its baroque form, as Starck himself affirms “derives from the collective memory of the West.”

2002

The book “Kartell. 150 Items, 150 Artworks” is on display in Milan.
The volume, published by Skirà and based on a concept by Franca Sozzani and Luca Stoppini, is a collection of contributions from 150 photographers and artists, including Helmut Newton, Bruce Weber, Maurizio Cattelan and Vanessa Beecroft. The artists involved were asked to provide their own interpretations of Kartell objects through a snapshot, work of art or text. The book launch exhibit is at the Milan Triennale and contains a striking display by Ferruccio Laviani which shows 150 books placed on the same number of stands, each opened to a different page.

2004

Ferruccio Laviani presents Bourgie.
The typical old lamp with a fabric shade looses its bourgeois connotation, becoming, through the use of polycarbonate, a sculptural and contemporary object. It won the Design & Decoration Award in 2005.

2006

The designer team is expanding.
With Patrick Jouin, Marcel Wanders, Patricia Urquiola, Erwan and Ronan Bouroullec, and Tokujin Yoshioka, Kartell is further experimenting with surfaces, and is making rough and textured products.

2009

Kartell presents the Masters chair, designed by Philippe Starck with Eugeni Quitllet.
This chair’s silhouette is the result of a fusion between three popular chairs: the “Series 7” by Arne Jacobsen, the “Tulip Armchair” by Eero Saarinen and the “Eiffel Chair” by Charles Eames. The project won the Good Design Award in 2010 and the Red Dot Design Award in 2013. Today, it is Kartell’s bestseller.

2010

Tokujin Yoshioka signs the collection The Invisibles.
The project consisted of creating a series of unique handmade pieces using very wide slabs. The chairs and tables in this collection inspire the “Invisible Table” line of single-block tables and side tables which was industrially produced in 2012.

2012

Taschen is printing the first monograph dedicated to a design company: “Kartell – The Culture of Plastics”.
The volume tells the company’s story in 400 pages, through historical images and critical contributions from historians and curators, including: Gillo Dorfles, Deyan Sudjic and Franca Sozzani.

2013

Invisible Table wins the Best of the Best prize of the Red Dot Design Award.
Invisible Table is the first clear table made of injection-moulded single-block plastic. Weighing more than 20 kg., it represents a noteworthy evolution in terms of production technology.

2014

The Kartell Museum Foundation is turning 15 and the Museum has been redesigned and re-staged for the occasion.
As with the previous design, this one is signed by Ferruccio Laviani, and completely and comprehensively recounts the company’s 65 years.

Mission

The Kartellmuseo Foundation is proposing to spread the knowledge of industrial design and its aesthetic and production processes to the public. To that end, the Foundation presents itself as Company Museum, a permanent cultural institution open to the public, which is dedicated to the conservation, cataloguing and exhibition of the furniture that constitutes the heritage and cultural/corporate face of Kartell Spa, in cooperation with other representative bodies in the sector, as well as with national and international cultural institutions. The Foundation also intends to deepen the existing links between the materials and forms of everyday objects, which are a significant sign of human civilization and the environment in which it has developed, in an atmosphere of rediscovery, and promoting the cultural value of an industrial product. "The environment in which Kartell operates is that of industrial design, which involves the design, production and use of a product in a cultural system. This is reflected in all of its research and communication activities, but above all is expressed through the products that fully reveal their cultural development and purpose. This concrete and tangible memory is made available to the public, who can thus recognize themselves in theobjects that are part of our everyday environment."

Claudio Luti

President of Fondazione Museo Kartell and Kartell CEO

Contacts

Kartellmuseo, via delle Industrie 3, 20082 Noviglio (MI).
Visits are available from Monday to Friday, from 10am to 6pm with either a self-led or guided tour.
Closed during holidays and non-working days.

For reservations:

t. +39 02 90012296, +39 02 900121.

Free admission.
Self-led and guided tours.

Getting There

BY CAR

Motorway A7 Milan-Genoa, Binasco exit.
After exiting the toll booth, turn right on SP30.
At the roundabout, take the first right onto SP203.
At the first trafficlight, turn right onto via delle Industrie and proceed to the Kartell factory.

BY PUBLIC TRANSPORT

At Famagosta station (MM2/green underground line,) take bus z516 Rosate-Binasco-Milan towards Rosate, or alternately, bus z509 Milan-Motta Visconti towards Motta Visconti. Get off at Noviglio Santa Corinna bus stop and proceed on foot for approximately 3 minutes.

Bus schedules may be consulted online at www.pmtsrl.it.

Download the map to get to the museum from Santa Corinna bus stop.

Download

Contacts