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Your entrepreneurial vision, Steve, closely resembles that of Aurelio Zanotta. He was a visionary who, like you, believed in the beauty of simplicity and an all-round innovation. Reading some of your thoughts, one has the feeling of ‘drinking’ from the same source. Do you remember, for instance, when you said that traders and industrialists should enrich the lives of the customers, make them better and happier? Your thought was crystal clear:
Aurelio Zanotta, the founder of the company who, just like a daughter, took his surname, had, years before you, your very same opinion:
This idea should resonate with you, since you have changed people's lives, revolutionizing the way they communicate, surf the internet or listen to music. You attended the Aspen Design Conference in 1981, falling in love with a concept that went on to guide your projects together with your love for Japanese minimalism: the functional simplicity of Made in Italy design.
You have always loved Italian design, and Zanotta is a herald of Made in Italy. A company that can join profit and culture in a virtuous circle in which the former finances the latter: a combination symbolized by the two dots of the logo.
Risking doing new things: reinvigorated by the economic boom and an enthusiastic and spontaneous approach to industry, the 1950s in Italy, when Zanotta was launched, are similar to the 1980s in America, those of the success of the mouse and the Macintosh.
It is not easy to condense the stylistic approach of a company that was founded a year before you were born, which includes in its catalog over 500 projects and more than 100 prizes, among which three Compasso d'Oro. Think that in the 1970s Zanotta entered the Guinness Book of Records with the Marcuso table by Marco Zanuso, introducing in the furniture field the direct welding of crystal to steel, a technique borrowed from the automotive industry. At the last Salone del Mobile, the table was an authentic protagonist with its concrete top.
You have helped change forever a number of industries. Similarly, Zanotta has traced its way through the history of design. Do you have a sofa with a removable cover at home? You should thank Zanotta.
If technology can be beautiful, beauty (and design) must be technological. And also simple, durable, sustainable, exciting. The Sacco beanbag is unconventional and as welcoming as a hug. Would you believe it was inspired by farmers and their mattresses full of leaves? Like your computers, it has been exposed at New York’s MoMA and is a child of nonconformity.
Aurelio Zanotta was all for experimentation and he used to like disruptive objects. Think of the Mezzadro stool by Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni, still a protagonist at the latest Salone along with a re-edition of Albero and the high version of Servomuto. An authentic homage to Achille Castiglioni, who, just like you, was an attentive observer, a supporter of simplicity and one who was deeply interested in the way things worked.