Crafting design in Italy

From post-war to postmodernism

By Catharine Rossi

Crafting design in Italy

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-8940-4
  • Pages: 240
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £85.00
  • Published Date: February 2015
  • BIC Category: DESIGN / History & Criticism, ART / European, Italy, The arts / History of art / art & design styles, History of art, Europe
  • Series: Studies in Design and Material Culture


Crafting design in Italy is the first book to examine the role that craft played in post-war Italian design, one of the most celebrated design episodes in the twentieth century. Craft was vital to the development of Italian design, and it has been so far overlooked.

This book examines the multiple ways craft shaped Italian design from 1945 to the 1980s in the context of bigger socio-economic, cultural and political change; from post-war reconstruction to the economic 'miracle' of the 1960s, to the rise of the countercultural Radical Design movement and advent of postmodernism. It consists of case studies on design areas including product, furniture, fashion, glass and ceramics to bring to light previously unknown makers and objects as well as re-examine design 'icons' such as Gio Ponti's Superleggera chair and Ettore Sottsass's Memphisware. It also offers a model for analysing design and craft's relationship in other contexts, including today.


Crafting Design in Italy brings this neglected chapter of design history into sharp focus, and Rossi writes with command and concision., Will Wiles, Apollo Magazine, 1 June 2015


1. Craft and the birth of post-war Italian design
2. Crafting design, designing craft
3. From luxury to kitsch, and back again
4. Processes and production from radical design to postmodernism
Conclusion: Crafting design beyond post-war Italy
Select bibliography


Catharine Rossi is Senior Lecturer in Design History at Kingston University London

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