In memory of the father of DIY furniture, Enzo Mari

We celebrate the achievements of Enzo Mari — the Italian designer, artist, theorist, critic and forefather of open sourcing.

WORDS Adam Bryce
Photography Supplied

One of the most revered figures in modern design, Enzo Mari, influenced multiple generations of designers and, while best-known for his iconic designs (conceived for top-of-their-game manufacturers such as Danese, Driade, Artemide, Zanotta and Magis), it was Mari’s pioneering mind that made him one of the most revolutionary thinkers of his time.

Mari’s political views leaned towards communism which informed the design process; his community-minded set of values reflected in his definition of ‘good’ design. His goal was to help create a better world where sustainable, accessible, functional, well-made, emotionally resonant, enduring, socially beneficial, beautiful, economic and affordable furniture was at the fore. A true pioneer.

A definition which led him to work towards popularising DIY designs and publishing the book Autoprogettazione, a manual which included a number of projects that could be realised by anyone through wooden boards and simple tools.

Ahead of his time, Mari’s political concerns saw him become a leader in advocating for anti-consumerism, workers’ rights and environmentalism, and it was these ideals that saw a recent surge in popularity of the Italians works and views amongst younger designers. 

In a time where we issues of climate change and economic inequality are top priority, we can only hope that Mari’s passing propels the next generation to keep pushing for a better world.


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