Published: March32023

Carlo Bartoli

40 years together

Carlo Bartoli receives the Compasso d'Oro Career Award and Rossi di Albizzate looks back on 40 years of continuous collaboration, spanning 46 products, several publications and awards.

"It is 14-06-2016 and in the company we learn of the awarding of the 24th Premio d'Oro alla Carriera to architect Carlo Bartoli, for us not only a great designer, but a travelling companion for 40 years.

The motivation of the ADI commission (of which Bartoli was a member since 1993) for awarding the most prestigious prize for a designer reads:  

  • "For having been able to communicate, in his professional experience, a poetic approach constantly aimed at the search for the essence of the creative gesture, a particular ability to be in tune with the growth and development needs of many furniture companies. He provides the companies he meets with original and innovative contributions each time, thus contributing to their success. A rigorous project path, applied to the various thematic areas, with sobriety and measure, constantly contributing to the enrichment of Italian design culture."

"As Rossi di Albizzate, we can only agree. Bartoli has always understood our needs, often anticipating them, and with his ideas and projects he has supported us for 40 years, helping us to grow, innovate and succeed.”

Architect Bartoli began working with Rossi in Albizzate in the early 1970s, already on the strength of his success in '67 with the Gaia armchair designed for Arflex. A young architect converted to design, but with potential already visible from the very beginning. For Rossi di Albizzate he designed the Blop and Down sofas in '72. Innovative models that made the history of the company and of Italian design; the Blop was exhibited in '73 at the Triennale in Milan. For Bartoli, the 'seat' object has always been the most stimulating, contrary to other designers, who somewhat consider it the most difficult to design. So stimulating that he designed 46 products for Rossi di Albizzate, distributed over 40 years of collaboration that accompanied his professional career until the handover to his children, architects Anna and Paolo Bartoli.

He has received numerous awards during his career, from Compasso d'Oro in 2008 tothe 'Apostle of Italian Design'in 2012. For Rossi di Albizzate he received the IF Award for Good Industrial Design in 1995, together with his daughter Anna, for the Tube armchair, perhaps the most iconic product designed by Bartoli, used in numerous television sets and featured in design publications. In 2001, Filatelia Italiana selected the Tube armchair to represent Italian design on a limited-edition stamp collection. And again in 2005, the publishing house specialising in design and architecture, Electa, selected the Tube for the cover of the monograph dedicated to Rossi di Albizzate. Recalling the project, Carlo recalls the poetics that accompanied them in the conception: to give a body to a protective and supportive gesture "like holding the shoulders of a friend". 

A friendly person, as he was for Rossi di Albizzate. 

In 2020 Bartoli passes away, leaving a void in the panorama of Italian design that he himself helped to build. His pieces will continue to speak of his work in all the museums that host them, in the homes of those who had an eye for quality and innovation, in the company museum and in the Rossi di Albizzate catalogue, which has planned re-editions of its most representative pieces in his honour.