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Kartell, Italian Design

Italy is synonymous with excellence in decor. Of all the major brands “Made in Italy” that adorn homes all over the world - B&B, Lago, Meda, Artemide - Kartell is among the most renowned. Noted for some world-famous productions, such as the Ghost chair by Philippe Stark and the Bookworm bookshelf by Ron Arad, Kartell is an Italian company, manufacturing only in Italy, with unmatched technique and quality.
One of the great insights of its engineers was, in fact, utilizing polycarbonate, first used for police visors and shields, and then modified by General Electric to make it more flexible, colorful and durable. From that study came the La Marie chair, ushering in the era of industrial products which today decorate the townhouses of Manhattan as well as Milan and Singapore.

Founded in 1949 by Giulio Castelli, the company that produces items of furniture exclusively in plastic has gained international recognition and a place of honor in the major museums of contemporary art and design throughout the world, such as the Trienniale d’Arte in Milan and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Among the designers that have helped the brand make its mark are Ludovico (Vico) Magistretti, who produced the popular “Maui” chair, Philippe Starck who designed the first chair for Kartell, “Dr. Glob,” Alberto Meda, who made the “Honeycomb” chair, Antonio Citterio, who made the “Mobil” chest of drawers, and other noted designers such as Patricia Urquiola and Ferruccio Laviani. These innovators have created, for the Milanese company, design objects that have become icons of good living.

Two of the features of the Milanese company’s furnishings is the use of polycarbonate, and the manufacturing of each item from a single mold, making them resistant both to weight and to weather, as in the case of the outdoor chairs. Its famous lamps, such as the baroque Bourgie by Ferruccio Laviani, is a perfect example of the Kartell style, both a decorative object and reading companion. “Bookworm,” meanwhile, is a flexible bookshelf fixed to the wall, a great example of flexibility and strength.

The basis of the company's success is knowing how to make the artisans out of of its workers, and the ability to use the most advanced technologies to create beautiful objects from raw materials. Along with the different types of plastic from which they are made, a "natural" alternative to glass due to their brightness, durability and affordability. On the basis of this philosophy, Kartell has also ushered in an entire line of items for the bathroom and for the table, covered with gold and silver paint.

Kartell has always been a presence in the Salone del Mobile in Milan, and as one of the most important brands in the industry, Kartell now has 130 stores in the world, exporting mainly to the United States. In 1999, it opened its eponymous museum in Novigio, in the province of Milan, where the company is also registered.