The Italian production of furnishings and lighting up to the late 1960s is gathered under the name of Classic Design and is characterized by high quality design and execution.
Until the end of the 1950s, decor design was inextricably interconnected with the elevated standards of the Brianza furniture makers, just as that of the lighting was to the Venetian artistic glass furnaces and the small crystal making factories such as Fontana Arte and Cristal Art.
Architects like Carlo Mollino, Gio Ponti, Paolo Buffa and Franco Albini created their furniture with the help of the best artisans and defined the Italian middle class’s taste for interior design.
The design production gradually aligned itself with the principles of Modernist Functionalism.
In the 1960s, designers such as Gianfranco Frattini, Ignazio Gardella, Luigi Caccia Dominioni and Vittorio Introini experimented with the use of bent plywood, chrome steel and harmonic metal. Caccia Dominioni in particular created a line of furniture with chrome bands, and Vittorio Introini designed the famous hanging modular bookcase model P700 for Saporiti, made with elements in polished molded chrome steel sheets assembled with visible screws.
The eclectic taste of interior designers ruled between the 1960s and 1970s. Gabriella Crespi, Willy Rizzo and Tommaso Barbi decorated dwelling interiors with glossy lacquered furnishings, gold-plated brass, briar-root veneers. A taste for luxury that is chic but also often kitsch, a forewarning of the crisis to come.
Also relevant was the work of Afra and Tobia Scarpa. In the wake of the best Italian tradition, they cooperated with Maxalto, the B&B division closest to the artisan heritage, to create the Artona line. Employing manufacturing processes typically used in cabinet and violin making, they achieved a striking sculptural effect thanks to the overlapping layers of different woods.