Alberto Meda

ITALY (1945)

Alberto Meda represents the fusion of art and science, reason and imagination, technical innovation and formal virtuosity that characterizes the best of Italian design. He is among a group of designers whose individual talents became visible in the 1970s and continued to grow through the end of the century, making design a force that affects every aspect of modern life. Meda’s contemporaries include Matteo Thun, Ron Arad and Philippe Starck, none of whom can be contained within a single movement or aesthetic. At the same time, all have blurred the boundaries between technology and art.

Meda first studied mechanical engineering at the Politecnico di Milano, graduating in 1969. Only a few years later, he was appointed Technical Director for the design-oriented manufacturer Kartell. In 1979, Meda made the decision to pursue independent work as a designer and engineer, becoming a consultant to Alfa Romeo and Italtel Telematica. In 1983, he began teaching industrial technology at the Domus Academy in Milan, one of the most prestigious schools of design in Europe.

Meda is acknowledged for his ability to use state-of-the-art materials in ways that are visually arresting as well as structurally sound. For example, he created the sculptural LightLight chair using a Nomex Honeycomb core and a matrix of carbon fiber to achieve remarkable strength and lightness. The LightLight chair also exemplifies Meda’s interest in using industrial materials in a nonindustrial context. The wonderfully functional and comfortable Meda task chair, designed in the ’90s, combines ergonomic sophistication with a visual coherence that testifies to his engineering background.

Meda’s portfolio is comprised of a wide range of products – everything from cars to high-tech lighting to cast-aluminum seating – some of which have earned him design accolades, including a Compasso d’Oro and Design Plus award.

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