Joe Colombo

Joe Colombo

He attends the Politecnico and the Brera Art Accademy in Milan. After an important experience in the informal art, he designs the X Triennale setting in 1954 and in 1956 he realizes his first building in Milano (Via Rosolino Pilo)


In 1963 he sets up his own studio in Milan and he devotes himself to the design of industrial products, many of which, when differently assembled, are proper object systems. Pioneer in ergonomic study for design, he develops well unique defined in space products, of sculptural and dynamic appearance at the same time.


Joe Colombo has left many examples of the originality of his intuitions, deriving from a constant research into new technologies and from a deep sensitivity in establishing a relationship between humans and the constantly evolving habitat.

On these basis he creates futuristic “machines for living « : the multifunction units VISIONA 1, TOTAL FURNISHING UNIT, CABRIOLET-BED and ROTOLIVING that influence the new way of living in small open spaces (lofts).


Joe Colombo introduces the relationship between space and time in design and he defines furniture as autonomous, flexible, coordinated, convertible, and independent from the architectural contest. Furniture is equipment to be used in different ways and times “at the service of the user”.


He wins numerous design awards:

1964    IN/ARCH Award for Hotel Pontinental, Sardegna.

1964    XIII Triennale di Milano: gold medal for the ACRILICA lamp, O-Luce; silver medal for MINI-KITCHEN, Boffi; silver medal for COMBICENTER, Bernini; mention for the CALOTTA lamp, O-Luce.

1967    Compasso d’Oro – ADI award for the SPIDER lamp, O-Luce.

1967    Mention for several design products, Expo Montreal.

1968    First Prize TECNHOTEL for the UNIVERSALE chair, Kartell

1968    XIV Triennale mention for the SPRING lamp, O-Luce.

1968    International Design Award 1968, USA The American Institute of

Interior Designers for the COUPÉ lamp, O-Luce.

1968    BIO 3 Lubiana mention for the UNIVERSALE chair, Kartell.

1970    Compasso d’Oro – ADI award for the CANDYZIONATORE air conditioner, Candy

1970    Compasso d’Oro – ADI mention for: the UNIVERSALE chair, Kartell; the BAZOOKA lamp, Stilnovo; the TRISYSTEM professional camera, Fatif.

1970    International Design Award 1970, USA The American Institute of Interior Designers for the SPRING lamp, O-Luce.

1971    First prize SMAU for the BOBY trolley, Bieffe.

1972    BAUZENTRUM, Vienna, silver medal for the UNIVERSALE chair, Kartell.

1980    XVI Triennale Award “Raccolta del Design”, BIRILLO, Zanotta.

1981    Compasso d’Oro – ADI mention for the CICLOPE lamp, Bieffe.

1986    Istituto Italiano di Cultura Award ”1932-1985 Histoire du Design”, Zanotta”, Strasbourg for the POKER table, Zanotta.

1991    Compasso d’Oro – ADI mention for the 5 in 1 glass, Progetti srl.

2007    Design Awards 2007, Wallpaper, International Design Interiors lifestyle,

Best kitchen Wallpaper Award: MINIKITCHEN, Boffi.


His works are part of the permanent collections:

  • Osterreichisches Museum fur angewandte Kunst, Wien;
  • Plasticarium, Bruxelles;
  • Montreal Museum, of Fine Arts/Montreal Museum of Decorative Arts;
  • Uméleckoprumyslové muzeum v Prase (Czech Republic
  • Musée des Arts Decoratifs, Paris;
  • CCI-Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris;
  • Musée d’Art Moderne, Villeneuve d’Ascq (Lille);
  • Kunstgewerbe Museum SMPK, Berlin;
  • Die neue Sammlung, Staat.Museum für angewandte Kunst, München:
  • Vitra Museum, Weil-am-Rhein;
  • Kunstmuseum Düsseldorf im Ehrenhof;
  • Victoria & Albert Museum -20th Century Gallery, London;
  • The Israel Museum, Jerusalem;
  • La Triennale, Milano;
  • Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam;
  • Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam;
  • Haagsgemeentemuseum, den Haag (the Hague)
  • Philadelphia Museum of Art;
  • The Denver Art Museum;
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art; NY
  • MOMA, the Museum of Modern Art, NY;
  • Museum für Gestaltung-Kunstgewerbe Museum, Zürich;
  • Indianapolis Museum of Art.