Monday, November 09, 2009
Mobile Totale by Titina Ammanati & Giampiero Vitelli
I had an article remaining before my NY Times archive 10-pack expired, so I just threw in a name I liked to see what the paper of record had to say about...Ken Isaacs, evangelist for the modular design movement and author of the awesome, How To Build Your Own Living Structures [OOP, but free PDF download here.]
Wow, just five hits for a legend? The best one was a 1968 article on the still more glorious dawn that awaited the overthrow of the furniture hegemony: "It's a Bed, It's a Kitchen, It's an 'Environment'"!
But Isaacs' scruffy lumber Living Structure was overshadowed by a chrome version by Verner Panton [still researching], and this stunner, a gigantic, slot-together, all-in-one Italian masterpiece from the husband-and-wife architecture team Titina Ammanati and Giampiero Vitell.
Dubbed Mobile Totale/Total Furniture, the 1965 design featured a convertible sofa bed and trundle [keep your guests close!], built-in storage shelves, and a fold-out kitchen and dining table on the back. It's like the early Living Unit sculptures of one of my favorite artists, Andrea Zittel--only earlier.
Mobile Totale was totally new to me. Just about the only Internet reference at all was one I should have spotted but didn't: a Phillips de Pury auction in London last September. It had a very high estimate for something so little-known, and sure enough, it didn't sell. The Furniture Industrial Complex's day of reckoning may still come, but not yet.
Lot 93: Mobile Totale, 1965, Ammanati & Vitelli, est. £15,000-20,000, didn't sell [phillipsdepury.com]