Research project, ECAL 2018


Fuori catalogo / Out of production

The “Fuori catalogo” research project calls into question the way we think about the life cycles of contemporary design objects by shifting focus from a product’s birth and lifespan to its “end moment”. The research team led by Anniina Koivu (Head of Master Theory, ECAL) and Rosanna Pavoni (scientific director of Fondazione Studio Museo Vico Magistretti), explored the important yet under-researched topic of why and how products cease to be available on the market by examining the vast body of work left behind by Italian architect and product designer Vico Magistretti (1920–2006). One of the seminal figures in postwar Italian design, he based his work on a close collaboration with manufacturers, creating 334 products and furniture objects. Yet only 65 of these design classics are still in production as of January 2020.

Researchers drew on the extensive archives of the Fondazione Vico Magistretti, analysed specialist journals and conducted interviews with manufacturers and many of the original decision-makers investigating the manifold factors underpinning the decision to cease production of twelve Magistretti’s iconic creations, here employed as case studies. They are also the focus of a portfolio of new images created by ECAL alumni from the Photography courses.

The outputs of the research project are disseminated through the book Vico Magistretti: Stories of Objects, published by Triest verlag with graphic design by NORM, available in Italian an English editions, and through an upcoming exhibition to be held in Milan in 2021.

Main applicants
Anniina Koivu
Rosanna Pavoni (Fondazione studio museo Vico Magistretti)

Research team
Lecturers and researchers 
Maddalena Dalla Mura 
Davide Fornari 
Carolien Niebling 
Francesco Zanot

Calum Douglas 
Philippe Fragnière 
Maxime Guyon 
Benoît Jeannet 
Quentin Lacombe 
Marvin Leuvrey 
Calypso Mahieu 
Nicolas Polli 
Jean-Vincent Simonet 
Justinas Vilutis

Research assistant
Margherita Banchi

Fondazione studio museo Vico Magistretti

Supported by
ECAL/University of Art and Design Lausanne
Strategic fund of the University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland (HES-SO RCDAV)

Anniina Koivu (ed.), Vico Magistretti. Stories of Objects / Vico Magistretti. Storie di oggetti, Zurich: Triest verlag, 2020 (with contributions by Maddalena Dalla Mura, Davide Fornari, Carolien Niebling, Rosanna Pavoni, Francesco Zanot).

May 2017 – August 2018 

Selene chair, design Vico Magistretti, produced by Artemide, 1969. © Artemide

Carimate armchair, red version, design Vico Magistretti, produced by De Padova, 2001.

© De Padova

Pan chair, design Vico Magistretti, produced by Studio-Linie Rosenthal Einrichtung, 1980. 

© Rosenthal AG

Andrej bed, design Vico Magistretti, produced by Flou, 1980. © Flou

Edison table in an interior from the Cassina catalogue, 1985. © Cassina

Flower chair, design Vico Magistretti with Patricia Urquiola, produced by De Padova, 1996. © De Padova

Ekon lamp, design Vico Magistretti, produced by Oluce, 1977. © Oluce

Mauna Kea chair, design Vico Magistretti, produced by Kartell, 1993. © Kartell

Timo kitchen, design Vico Magistretti, produced by Schiffini, 1966. © Schiffini Cucine

Dim (left) and Adim (right) lamps, design Vico Magistretti, produced by Oluce, 1975. © Oluce

Bath bookcase, design Vico Magistretti, produced by Alias, 1979. © ECAL/Vincent Simonet

Tenorio coat hanger, design Vico Magistretti, produced by Alias, 1979. © ECAL/Quentin Lacombe