Mario dal Fabbro – A Designer Ahead of His Time
Mario dal Fabbro was a designer ahead of the times. When people were still corseted in the pre-war traditions and rules of do this and don’t do that, he dared challenge everything. He challenged the society that wanted nice, utilitarian objects around the house. He challenged the artists who were still hanging on the old and pointless late Victorian heavy style.
He had a dream and he set it free in the land of all possibilities: America. He was the prototype of the Italian man who is not content with the achievements he obtained in his homeland and goes to the New World to reinvent himself. And he did.
Just like Michelangelo with marble, dal Fabbro treats wood like a living thing, the sculpture hiding within, his task being to set it free. His sculptures are hard to classify – but this is what makes them immortal. You cannot place them orderly in a niche, and then shut the drawer, happy with your classification.
Mario dal Fabbro’s work makes you think, it stops you in your tracks and challenges your entire way of perceiving art.
But dal Fabbro is not just a dreamer, an unpractical artist. His largest contribution to the world of furniture is a theoretical approach to the standardization of furniture and, thus, opening the possibilities of mass production. A practical dreamer, a poet of reason and a designer who combined talent with hands-on experience (he worked as a young man in his family’s furniture design shop) and with solid theoretical study at the Superior Institute for Decorative and Industrial Arts at Venice.
The Role Model
You may ask, why this theory on the life and work of a furniture maker? Mario dal Fabbro was not just a furniture maker. Before anything, he was a designer. An exemplary role model for any designer. He did not create fancy things to impress, he always had in mind the end purpose of his work. He did not create unusable objects, just to showcase his talent. He created beautiful, easy to make, easy to replicate and easy to mass produce furniture in an age where these items were still made on order and very expensive.
His sculptures also show his continuous quest for the perfection of the form that flows naturally, angles that fluidly give birth to straight lines, which melt in other angles. His artwork is the expression of perfection, hard work made to look effortless and natural.
Just take a time and appreciate the purity of lines, the simplicity and the wide possibilities of interpretation. This is what good design really is – timeless, always open to debate and interpretation, always rising questions and never settling for one simple answer.
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