The icons of design from our favorite cult films

The exhibition in Treviso for eDesignFestival

by Pamela Zamberlan
The icons of design from our favorite cult films — Veneto Secrets

That between cinema and design has been an indissoluble liaison, capable of giving life to that magic made up of details that create suggestions and sets that describe eras and moods.

There are many design objects that have become co-stars in all respects of the films that have seen them as “actors”, managing to define a style, as well as to create imaginary spaces. Surely, the 007 film saga would not have been as successful without its ultra design sets that anticipated many trends in the 60s, helping to launch evergreen products, then copied by many other brands, such as the Barcelona armchair by Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe beautifully combined with the Eileen Gray‘s E1027 coffee table.

Another example is the Tolomeo: designed in 1987 by Michele De Lucchi with Giancarlo Fassina, it stars in the film American Psyco (2000). Bestseller of the Artemide brand and winner of the Compasso d’Oro in 1989, it is inspired by the classic spring table lamps, combining a traditional shape with innovative technologies and materials.

The icons of design from our favorite cult films — Veneto Secrets
The icons of design from our favorite cult films — Veneto Secrets

Another design icon, designed by the brothers Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni starting in 1962 for Flos, the Taccia is one of the most famous lighting products ever designed. We find it in the film Dillinger is dead by Marco Ferreri (1969). A famous quote from Achille Castiglioni affirms in 1987: “This is an interesting lamp due to its history, and because someone today confuses it for a post-modern object. This amuses us a lot, because it is from 1962 and my brother and I had no intention of making a post-modern lamp.”

Or let’s think of a Clockwork Orange by Stanley Kubrik (1971) in which there is the iconic Valentine typewriter, born in 1968 from the design of Ettore Sottsass and Perry King. Part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, it’s an important point of a reference of Italian design as well as a symbol of the historical moment in which it was born.

The icons of design from our favorite cult films — Veneto Secrets

The Egg Chair by Arne Jacobsen and Fritz Hansen (1958), a superb example of innovative design, is the protagonist in Ben Stiller’s film Zoolander (2001). Designed in 1958 to furnish the lobby of the Royal hotel in Copenhagen, it is still successfully produced today in different versions and colors. Its elegant egg shape encloses all of the designers’ inspirations, from the avant-garde of De Stijl’s Neoromanticism to the instances of the Bauhaus and the rigor of the Scandinavian style.

Another cult design object that has added value and charm to many cinematic stories is the legendary Eames Lounge Chair designed by Charles a Ray Eames for the furniture company Hermann Miller (1956). Protagonist of the film comedy Hope Springs (2012), it was the first armchair in history designed for a high-end market, also exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

The icons of design from our favorite cult films — Veneto Secrets

Leaving Hollywood for Rome, the wonderful Eames Plastic Chair, designed by Charles and Ray Eames, produced by Vitra in 1948, identifies the dream home of the film Perfect Strangers by Paolo Veronese (2016). In fact, almost all of the entertaining plot of the film takes place around the table surrounded by these iconic chairs.

These furnishing elements and other design icons are the protagonists of the exhibition “The design of cinema. Unforgettable objects” part of eDesignFestival 2021 curated by Luciano Setten and set up at the Santa Caterina Museum in Treviso until November 7, 2021. A tribute to the other major exhibition housed in the museum complex, as well as the National Salce Collection Museum, which tells the most beautiful posters in the history of the big screen through the work of the last “painter of cinema”, the great Renato Casaro.

For further info

Musei Civici Treviso

Discover the Secret Places closest to you