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Thirty years and over 6 thousand km separate your birth, Grace, from the foundation of Bonaldo. Yet, Amazing Grace, you're closer than you could imagine. First of all, both of you have debuted during a terribly difficult period, that of the Second World War.
To be more precise, in 1936 Giovanni Vittorio Bonaldo, a skilled blacksmith, began his entrepreneurial adventure specializing in metal processing. In those years you managed to get your Ph.D. in Mathematics at Yale. But maybe 1943 is an even more memorable year for you: after three attempts, you were finally admitted to the US Navy.
At the time you looked like an American Édith Piaf. You were too small and too old to join the WAVES, the Navy all-female division. However you obtained an exemption and were assigned to the programming staff for the new Mark I computer. That’s how you landed the job that made you famous. Your name is not as famous as those of Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, but it’s also thanks to you if today Bonaldo can use sophisticated computerized systems, alongside the most precious craftsmanship techniques, to produce its unique furniture collections.
Courage, irony, trust in emerging talents are all part of your personality and you have them in common with Bonaldo. In the 1950s, you used to work at Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation, the company that launched the first commercial computer, and you gave birth to the first compiler, the tool that can make computers understand human language. In the same years Bonaldo invented a folding bedstead which soon became a market standard, and developed avant-garde production techniques. Decades later the company became famous for producing a sofa-bed that was beautiful and functional at once.
In order to be innovative, it is necessary to experiment and believe in the power of new thinking. Bonaldo’s Big Table, Good Design Award in 2009, was designed by a very young (and still unknown at the time) Alain Gilles. Who had the intuition of introducing a mix of colors and materials into what is generally perceived a static and monochromatic design element. To put it briefly, dynamism. A magic spell cast on the table, which translates into a changing perception depending on the perspective.
At 2018 Milan’s Salone del Mobile there was also another designer who has something in common with you, Fabrice Berrux. He is a professor too, a great popularizer, just like you. In your office you used to have a clock that ran backwards, a reminder that challenges could often be overcome by approaching them in new ways.
Likewise, Fabrice Berrux has become a designer to spend most of his time creating and thus take on the challenge to constantly amaze himself. Exploring new ideas, new territories, as if you were on a journey.
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