The Last Furniture: Martino Gamper's Tribute to Enzo Mari
“We never really talk about this. The fact that when someone dies, we also need furniture.”
Designer and Serpentine collaborator Martino Gamper pays tribute to the late furniture designer Enzo Mari with two coffins created in the style of Mari’s seminal Autoprogettazione method
Text by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Rebecca Lewin
When we heard the news of the passing of the iconic Italian designer Enzo Mari and his wife, the legendary curator, critic and writer Leah Vergine, we reached out to the designer Martino Gamper to collaborate on a tribute.
Mari’s seminal Autoprogettazione of 1974 has left a lasting imprint on the design world, and its message of autonomy, responsibility and activism continues to inspire today. At the Serpentine we had the privilege of working with designer Martino Gamper on the show design is a state of mind in 2014, and Mari’s personal collection of paperweights were placed at the heart of that exhibition, reminding visitors of the design thinking held equally within industrially produced or hand crafted objects.
In response to a conversation about how we could mark the passing of Mari and Vergine, Gamper designed two coffins that pay homage to the principles of Autoprogettazione and worked with his neighbour, the Hackney-based photographer Robinson Barbosa, to create these images. In them, Mari’s restricted use of 2×4 wood and nails, and his playful use of form, are applied by Gamper to the most personal piece of furniture any of us will ever come into contact with. Gamper has titled this L’Ultimo Mobile – the last furniture.
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