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Massimo and Lella Vignelli

Many people know Mr. Vignelli for designing one of the most beloved renditions of the New York City Subway map. However, the Vignellis’ contributions to design have included everthing from book design to furniture design. Whether it’s identities for Bloomingdales, United Colors of Benetton, and American Airlines or their environmental and product design, the Vignellis consistently deliver relevant, beautiful, thought provoking solutions to any problem.

The couple joined forces in 1960 to create the Vignelli Office for Design and Architecture in Milan, and in 1971 formed Vignelli Associates in New York City. Running a design studio for over 50 years with the person you love…. we like that !

Massimo Vignelli (born 1931 in Milan, Italy) is a designer who has done work in a number of areas ranging from package design to furniture design to public signage to showroom design through Vignelli Associates, which he co-founded with his wife, Lella. He has said, “If you can design one thing, you can design everything,” and this is reflected in his broad range of work.  Vignelli works firmly within the Modernist tradition, and focuses on simplicity through the use of basic geometric forms in all of his work.

Massimo Vignelli has worked in a wide variety of areas, including interior design, environmental design, package design, graphic design, furniture design, and product design. His clients at Vignelli Associates have included high-profile companies such as IBM, Knoll, Bloomingdale’s and American Airlines.

Massimo and Lella Vignelli donated the entire archive of their design work in 2008 to the Rochester Institute of Technology, near Rochester, New York. The archive will be exhibited in a new building designed by Lella and Massimo Vignelli, to be known as “The Vignelli Center For Design Studies.” The building, which opened in September 2010, includes among its many offerings exhibition spaces, classrooms, and offices.

Vignelli participated in the Stock Exchange of Visions project in 2007, as well as publishing the book, “VIGNELLI: FROM A TO Z”, which contains a series of essays describing the principles and concepts behind “all good design”. It is alphabetically organized by topic, roughly approximating a similar course he has taught at Harvard’s School of Design and Architecture.

In January 2009, Vignelli released “The Vignelli Canon” as a free e-book; an expanded version was printed in September 2010, but the original remains available for download on the Vignelli Associates website. In the introduction Vignelli writes, “I thought that it might be useful to pass some of my professional knowledge around, with the hope of improving [young designers’] design skills. Creativity needs the support of knowledge to be able to perform at its best.”

‘Collaboration, for us, means sharing the same cultural platform, a similarity of intents and aiming to the same objectives.’

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