In an earlier post, About Bellini,  I made a reference to Mario Bellini as a forerunner of some of most revered current designers, who have sought to make technology human-friendly and in the process heightened the public’s sense of aesthetics.

Two quick examples below, both from the automotive industry, show Bellini anticipated the direction that design would take…

Lancia Trevi


For the 1980 interior Bellini conceived a fully unified dashboard and centre console, with the door cappings also connecting clearly to the dashboard. Usually the elements were not visually unified. Bellini saw the interior as a totality and not as a collection of disjointed parts so the interior has a homogeneity and unity that was singular.  It is true to say the design was controversial and still is. The UK press was especially critical yet the underlying concept is something we take for granted today. The design´s central idea won the argument in the long term about how to view a vehicle interior. — Quote here, with an accompanying interview.



Citroen Kar-a-Sutra



For those familiar with the event, one might most easily imagine this automobile presaging ‘art cars’ at Burning Man. So what could this odd vehicle possibly predate? Read this quote, below, to see!

It is a concept car that has greatly influenced the future automotive industry in the years to follow; you can define in fact the precursor of the modern minivan. — Source

Conceptually, it extends beyond minivans to other current vehicles such as the Honda Element.



Consequences of new technology

Bellini, at a higher level, observes and appraises the impact that changes will have on the person’s ability to perform their task and live their lives.

What is also interesting about the case of Bellini is that as a designer, his automotive work links his Italian sensibility (the use of colour, a sculptural sense) with the other need: for the work to be impersonal in the good sense.  Bellini´s Olivetti keyboards, the 1978 Spot television and the 1990 Lamy fountain pen are not Mario Bellini´s own personal tastes made manifest; rather they reflect his judgement. The person of Bellini has disappeared, much as a method actor subsumes his personality into that of the role. — Source



(I find this quote also perfectly encapsulates the approach of an Interior Designer when working a with a client).

Mario Bellini Products 01

An Olivetti keyboard, Spot television, Lamy Pen by Bellini

Bellini’s oeuvre is full with other examples of designs that have presaged, if not directly inspired, modern objects. I hope you enjoyed these examples!

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