AUTOPROGETTAZIONE by Enzo Mari
Edizioni Corraini, 2015, Second edition, 61 pp. 6 1/2" X 10", Spiral bound illustrated boards
Autoprogettazione was conceived as a “practical-critical exercise” in raising awareness for the design process behind common consumer items. Each piece of furniture had an inherent “structural reasoning” which, argued Mari, served to highlight functional attributes over the provocations of form. Particularly in the design capital of Milan, a true “cult of the object” had taken hold throughout Italy during the post-war economic boom which vaulted industrially produced household items to the status of quasi-art pieces.
As a reaction to the ubiquitous alluring commodity, Autoprogettazione’s items of furniture stood as the prototypes for a new kind of object: honest and transparent, rather than false and mystified. An object in which all superfluous additions have been left out and every detail announces its function, stands as proof of the sincerity of the project. Mari’s self-evident description of one of Autoprogettazione’s tables is telling in this sense: “This leg is a leg, this latticework underneath is a strengthening beam, the small struts under the boards of the tabletop are there to prevent it from vibrating, the nail serves to link the boards together.”