Enzo Mari curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist. With Francesca Giacomelli
The catalogue of the retrospective devoted to Enzo Mari (1932–2020) at the Triennale in Milan reflects the generosity of his working method and makes the extensive material extremely accessible, so that it can serve as a work of reference. The consistent two-column layout varies in font size as it moves through three thematic parts: an interview section is followed by lavishly illustrated depictions of design studies and conceptual works by Mari, while at the end are over three dozen fairly text-heavy homages and reminiscences by colleagues from the worlds of design and art. Between them is the main section: the actual list of works. It covers 200 pages in a two-column grid, each presenting one to three works along with brief texts and an image of varying size. The objects, drawings, sculptures and furniture are arranged chronologically, resulting in an almost panoptic overview. The simplicity and clarity of the presentation matches the no-frills materiality of the book – a welcome contrast to luxurious coffee-table books. The smooth, light paper and softcover are reminiscent of children’s colouring books, as is the stand-alone schematic drawing of an object on the cover, of which there are five versions. The designers’ familiar house font seems especially appropriate, alluding as it does to Italian type design of the 1960s and 1970s.