Ico Parisi Italy, 1916-1996


Domenico Parisi, called Ico Parisi, is one of the leading figures of design in the immediate post-war period, contributing to the « Renaissance » of Italian furniture design. Defining himself as a « Renaissance » artist, he claimed his interest in all forms of arts and never wanted to be confined to only one discipline. He pursued his creative activities in design, architecture, painting, filmmaking and photography during more than 50 years of career.


Born in Palermo, he moved with his family to Como where he studied construction. He graduated in 1934 and started his apprenticeship with the influential Modern Movement architect Giuseppe Terragni. 

In 1947, he married fellow architect Luisa Aiani, a former student of Gio Ponti at the Politecnico di Milan. Together, they established the design studio La Ruota and collaborated on many architectural and design projects. The studio became a venue for art and culture, a meeting place for established artists and designers. 

Between 1948 and 1951, Ico Parisi devoted himself to the study of furnishing elements and furniture design. He also started new frienhsips and collaborations with artists, designers and architects - such as Lucio Fontana, Bruno Munari, Mario Radice and Gio Ponti - that influenced his approach to furniture design. He developed a unique Modern aesthetic with inventive and innovative constructions drawing on his in endless vein of creativity.


Parisi completed his architectural studies at the Institute Atheneum in Lausanne, Switzerland, from 1949 until 1952.  Ico and Luisa achieved a number of residential commissions for private villas near Lake Como, taking over the architecture and the furniture design. 


In 1954, he participated in the X Triennale di Milano dedicated to the decorative arts and industrial design. He won the gold award for the Padiglione di soggiorno (Living room pavilion) that he designed in collaboration with Silvio Longhi and Luigi Antonietti. This construction exemplified Parisi's convictions that plastic and pictoral arts can coexist in architecture. 

In 1956, Ico Parisi became a member of the Associazione per il Disegno Industriale (Association for Industrial Design).  During his career, Parisi designed unique pieces of furniture with craftsmen and small furniture companies like Brianza. He also collaborated with more important manufactures of the time such as Cassina, Singer & Sons and Cappellina with a more industrial production. Utimately, all of Ico Parisi's creation has marked the history of Italian design.